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Liverpool vs FC Utrecht Half-Time Update

Liverpool’s first half of their final Europa League group game has been promising so far, despite a 0-0 scoreline against opponents FC Utrecht.

Reds boss Roy Hodgson has fielded a younger side having already qualified for the knockout stages; the 63-year old manager has made ten changes from the side that were defeated by Newcastle on Saturday; Martin Skrtel the only survivor from the 3-1 loss. 19-year-old reserve striker Nathan Eccleston starts his first ever game for Liverpool, in a strike force alongside Ryan Babel.

The first proper attempt for either side fell to Liverpool’s Milan Jovanovic; his left-footed drive from just outside the penalty area rattled the Utrecht bar after eight minutes. The winger has looked lively, and is an inviting 15/2 to score the next goal of the match.

Scottish centre-back Danny Wilson partners Skrtel in defence, in front of former Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones. Wilson scored on his international debut a month ago against the Faroe Islands, and can be an imposing threat from set pieces; a header after 23 minutes from a Jonjo Shelvey corner was not converted, however for Wilson to bag a header in the 2nd half, odds of 10/1 are available.

Utrecht’s biggest threat was 21-year-old striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who scored a hat trick against Celtic back in August to qualify for the group stages, just three of his 19 goals already this season. The young striker was showing clever movements into channels in the Utrecht attack, but will not appear for the second half after suffering a suspected broken collarbone just before half time. Utrecht also have a Dutch/ Irish midfielder in Barry Maguire, who is hotly tipped for a bright future.

Odds on the full-time score may be the best area to look right now; odds of a 0-0 finish start around 12/1, a 1-1 draw is a little lower at 7/1, whilst a 1-0 away win for Utrecht is an eye-catching 14/1; a similar scoreline result with Dries Mertens being the only goalscorer is 35/1. Liverpool remain at 4/9 to pick up all three points.

LFC: Jones, Kelly, Aurelio, Wilson, Skrtel, Cole, Poulsen, Shelvey, Jovanovic, Babel, Eccleston

Substitutes: Hansen, Johnson, Kyrgiakos, Meireles, Torres, Pacheco, Kuyt

FCU: Vorm, Cornelisse, Nesu, Keller, Silberbauer, Mertens, Maguire, Nijholt, Wuytens, Duplan, van Wolfswinkel (de Kogel 45)

Substitutes: Cummins, Vorstermams, Van der Maarel, Sarota, Oar

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