Europa League Matchday 2 overview: Liverpool, Brighton and West Ham all in action

By on October 4, 2023

Kaoru Mitoma

The Europa League group stages continue on Thursday night. Let’s take a look at some of the key matches including those involving the teams from the Premier League….

Liverpool vs Royale Union

Liverpool will be looking to put their controversial defeat to Tottenham behind them when they take on Royale Union SG at Anfield on Thursday night.

The Reds saw their 17-game unbeaten run in the Premier League come to an end with a hugely contentious 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane on Saturday. Just minutes after Curtis Jones saw red following a VAR review, Liverpool thought they had taken a vital lead over Spurs when Luis Diaz slotted home after appearing to beat the offside trap. The ‘goal’ was subsequently ruled out due to a ‘significant human error’ by the VAR – who mistakenly thought the on field decision was onside, rather than offside.

Diogo Jota was later sent off for two bookings and to compound Liverpool’s misery, Joel Matip scored a 95th minute own goal to gift Tottenham a 2-1 win. Jurgen Klopp has called for the game to be replayed, but acknowledged such a move is highly unlikely. The defeat has left the Reds sitting fourth in the table – two points behind leaders Man City – with Tottenham leapfrogging them in to second.

The fall-0ut from the calamity in North London will rumble on, but Liverpool need to regroup and focus their energy on getting three points against Union SG at Anfield on Thursday evening. The Merseysiders kicked off their Europa League campaign with a 3-1 win over LASK Linz and sit top of Group E after Union SG played out a 1-1 draw with Toulouse in the other fixture. Victory for Liverpool on Thursday would put them firmly in control of the group and they could put one foot in the knockout stages with a win over Toulouse at Anfield later this month.

Liverpool have won 15 of their last 21 home matches in the Europa League so they’ll be confident of picking up another three points tomorrow. If you want to attend the game in person, you can buy Liverpool vs Royale Union tickets at Seatsnet and this could be a good opportunity to watch a match at Anfield for those who struggle to get hold of Premier League tickets.

Team news

Liverpool will be without Cody Gakpo for the next few weeks after he picked up a knee injury against Tottenham. Thiago Alcantara remains out with a hip injury while Stefan Bajcetic is still recovering from a calf issue.

Klopp is set to rotate his squad with the likes of Caoimhin Kelleher, Joe Gomez, Kostas Tsimikas, Darwin Nunez, Ryan Gravenberch, Wataru Endo and Harvey Elliot pushing for starts.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Union SG

Marseille vs Brighton

Brighton continue their European adventure when they travel to the Stade Velodrome to take on Marseille on Thursday night. The Seagulls booked their place in Europe for the first time in their history after finishing sixth in the Premier League last season. However, they got off to a nightmare start after losing 3-2 at home to AEK Athens two weeks ago.

Things have gone off the rails for Brighton in recent weeks as they also crashed out of the EFL Cup to Chelsea last week while they were thrashed 6-1 by Aston Villa at the weekend. So the pressure is on Roberto De Zebri to get their campaign back on track with a positive result in France.

However, that won’t be easy as the Stade Velodrome is a tough place to visit. The good news for Brighton is that Marseille come into the game in poor form themselves. They failed to win any of their games in September after being held to draws by Nantes and Toulouse, while they also had to settle for a point in their opening Europa League game having drawn 3-3 at Ajax.

Marseille were then thrashed 4-0 by PSG before going down 3-2 to Monaco at the weekend. That defeat has left them sitting way down in 12th place in the Ligue 1 standings, so Brighton will be quietly confident of bringing home a positive result on Thursday.

Team news

Brighton will continue without long-term absentees Julio Enciso and Jukub Moder, while Pascal Gross, James Milner and Adam Lallana are also major doubts for the trip to France.

De Zebri is likely to freshen things up after the disappointing result at Villa with the likes of Igor Julio, Jan Paul van Hecke, Tariq Lamptey and Pedro all pushing for recalls. On-loan Barcelona forward Ansu Fati will also hope to get his first start after scoring off the bench at the weekend.

Prediction: Marseille 2-2 Brighton

Frieburg vs West Ham

West Ham will be looking to make it back-to-back wins in the Europa League when they take on Frieburg in Germany on Thursday. The Hammers got their Group A campaign off to the perfect start with a 3-1 win over Backa Topla two weeks ago with summer signing Mohammed Kudus scoring twice.

David Moyes’ men lost 3-1 at Liverpool days later but booked their place in the fourth round of the EFL Cup with a win at Lincoln before beating Sheffield United 2-0 at the weekend. That victory has moved West Ham up to seventh in the Premier League table having won four of their seven games so far, so it’s been a solid start to the campaign.

Frieburg also won their opening Europa League game with a win over Olympiacos and this won’t be an easy game for the Hammers. However, with a tough trip to Greece up next, West Ham will desperately want to take home a positive result on Thursday.

Team news

Aaron Cresswell is a doubt with an ankle injury that’s hampered him recently. Forward Jarrod Bowen is also carrying an ankle knock but he’s expected to recover in time to face Frieburg.

Whether Bowen is risked from the start is another question as Moyes is expected to rotate his squad to give some key players a rest. Second choice goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski should return between the sticks while the likes of Thilo Kehrer, Kostas Mavropanos, Kudus and Said Benrahma are pushing for starts.

Edson Alvarez is back in contention after missing the win over Topola through suspension and he should start in midfield for the Hammers on Thursday night.

Prediction: Frieburg 1-1 West Ham