Europa League: Besiktas vs Liverpool match preview

A look ahead to Thursday night's Europa League fixture at the Ataturk Stadium

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The Independent Football

Liverpool take a slender 1-0 lead to Turkey on Thursday night, when they face Beskitas in the second leg of their Europa League clash.

Mario Balotelli’s 85th minute penalty was the difference when the two sides met at Anfield a week ago, but that was far from the whole story.

The controversial Italian was involved in an on-field confrontation with vice-captain Jordan Henderson, the Reds' first choice penalty-taker in Steven Gerrard's absence, over who should take the spot kick.

 

Balotelli’s persistence paid off in the end, with the former Manchester City man dispatching his penalty for only his fourth goal for Liverpool this season.

Historically Turkey has the reputation as being one of the most difficult nations to visit in European football, therefore Brendan Rodgers' men will know they will have to be resolute at the back, compact in midfield and hope to take their chances when they arise.  

KICK-OFF:  Thursday, 7:00pm

PAST THREE MEETINGS…

Liverpool 1 (Balotelli) Besiktas 0 – Europa League, February, 2015

Liverpool 8 (Crouch 2, Benayoun 3, Gerrard, Babel 2) Besiktas 0 – Champions League, November , 2007

Besiktas 2 (Hyypia O.G.) Liverpool 1 (Gerrard) - Champions League, October , 2007

STATS…

Liverpool’s win in the first leg last Thursday, was their first win in six European games.

Besiktas are unbeaten in three home matches against English sides (W2 D1)

The Reds have won only once in five away games against Turkish sides.

The Turks are unbeaten in six European home games (W4 D2);

Rodgers' side are without a win in four away games from home (D1 L3).

Besiktas’ Demba Ba has scored 18 goals in all competitions this season.

ODDS…

Besiktas to win: 3

Liverpool to win: 2.5

Draw: 3.4

TV: Live on ITV4 Thursday, 7pm

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