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Bordeaux v Liverpool: Rodgers could ring changes for French test

Liverpool open their Europa League campaign on Thursday with an away fixture against Group B rivals Bordeaux.

Brendan Rodgers’ squad will hope for a change of fortunes in Europe after suffering back-to-back defeats in the Premier League, their most recent loss seeing them go down 3-1 to Manchester United.

The result at Old Trafford leaves Liverpool sitting in 10th place in the table, though their opponents have also found it tough going at the start of the new Ligue 1 season.

Bordeaux have won just once in their opening five games, although they have drawn three times. They managed to pick up a point with a 2-2 draw away at champions Paris Saint-Germain last time out, mainly thanks to a pair of errors from home goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.

Wahbi Khzari, who capitalised on Trapp’s loss of concentration to score the second equaliser in Paris, hopes to see his side impose themselves and limit the attacking threat of Liverpool’s front three.

“It’ll be hard. We know they’re a very big team. It will be a big fight,” he told the club’s official website.

“We’ll need the same type of effort as we had in Paris and try to have a bit more of the ball to put them in trouble.

“You have to keep an eye on every player in a team like this. Beyond that, it’s true that the three attacking players, [Philippe] Coutinho, [Christian] Benteke and [Roberto] Firmino have the ability to make the difference.

“So we have to be especially vigilant.”

With Liverpool having a home game against Norwich City on Sunday, Rodgers may opt to make changes to his starting XI.

Mamadou Sakho could make his first appearance of the season in his homeland, while Coutinho is available again after missing the Manchester United match through suspension.

The Brazil international is one of only two Liverpool players who have found the back of the net so far this season – the other being Benteke, who notched his second goal for his new employers in spectacular fashion at Old Trafford.

Rodgers admitted at the weekend that his side must improve in the final third.

“We need to be a lot technically better than we showed,” he said.

“Over the first five games now creating more goals is something we need to look at. We haven’t created anywhere near as much as what I would have liked. That is something I need to look at with the coaches and staff.”

The two sides have met twice before in Europe – they were drawn in the same Champions League group in the 2006-07 season.

Liverpool came out on top in both fixtures, triumphing 1-0 away thanks to a solitary Peter Crouch goal before a comfortable 3-0 success in the return clash at Anfield.

Wed 16 Sep, 2015
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