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Europa League Preview: Benteke returns for Liverpool, Tottenham host Anderlecht

Christian Benteke is expected to be named in Liverpool’s starting line-up for their Europa League trip to Rubin Kazan on Thursday.

The Belgian striker has been a peripheral figure at the club this season, with his debut campaign at Anfield blighted by injuries.

However, after coming off the bench to score in Liverpool’s 3-1 Premier League defeat of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, Benteke has convinced manager Jurgen Klopp to name him in the first XI.

“The decision between Roberto [Firmino] and Christian… Christian was not 100 per cent, so he needs time to play,” the German said. 

“Now he is a big step ahead so we can plan with him.”

The Reds sit second in Group B after three matches, with their winless Russian opponents propping up the table having won two of their past 10 games in all competitions.

Swiss outfit Sion – who top the table by four points – take on Ligue 1 side Bordeaux in the group’s other game.

In a tight Group J, Tottenham host Anderlecht at White Hart Lane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men are domestically on a 10-game unbeaten run but have found points tougher to come by in Europe, having taken four from three games.

Spurs lost 2-1 to their Belgian opponents when then two sides met at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in October but have been the bolstered by the return to form of striker Harry Kane.

Monaco, who top the table by a point, make the trip to Baku to face Qarabag in the other clash.

Serie A side Napoli will be hoping to continue their 100 per cent record in Group D when they take on Denmark’s Midtjylland at Stadio San Paolo.

Maurizio Sarri’s side have been untouchable in Europe this season and have built up a 13-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

In the other group game, strugglers Legia Warsaw and Club Brugge will be hoping to kick-start their campaigns when they meet in Belgium’s north-west, with both sides languishing on one point.

Lazio can close in on qualification from Group G with victory over Rosenborg on Thursday, while 2014-15 Europa League runners-up Dnipro entertain Saint-Etienne.

Ajax will be aiming to record their first win in Group A when they host Turkey’s Fenerbahce at the Amsterdam Arena, while surprise leaders Molde travel to face Ronny Deila’s Celtic.

Borussia Dortmund face bottom-of-the-table Qabala at Westfalenstadion in Group C, as PAOK travel to Krasnodar.

In Group H, Besiktas play leaders Lokomotiv Moscow and Sporting CP head to Albania to play point-less Skenderbeu Korce.

Athletic Bilbao take on Partizan as the top two meet in Group L, and AZ Alkmaar head to Germany for their contest with Augsburg.

In the day’s other fixtures, Groningen play Liberec, Marseille host Braga, Belenenses meet Basel and Fiorentina are up against Lech Poznan.

Sparta Prague will take on Schalke, while APOEL greet Asteras Tripolis in a Group K encounter.

Unbeaten Rapid Vienna head to the Czech Republic for their game with Viktoria Plzen and Dinamo Minsk welcome La Liga outfit Villarreal.

Tue 3 Nov, 2015
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