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The quarter final between Liverpool and Dortmund was always going to be an exciting affair with the return of Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool warned to ignore hype around Jürgen Klopp’s Dortmund return
Klopp stated during his conference that he would rather be at Dortmund than North Korea. The Liverpool manager is not surprised with the reception that he is receiving at his former club having guided them to two Bundesliga titles and a Champions league final in 2013.

However, the former Mainz coach has stated that he and his team are very focused on the game. The Liverpool manager added that Dortmund are clear favorites going into the game and also one of the contenders for winning the Europa league as well.

He said that he recognized the mountain that his team would be required to climb in order to come out of this round on the winning side. The former Dortmund manager stated that he would obviously not celebrate when Dortmund scores but realizes the importance of his team being very much up to the task in order to make things difficult for the German club.

Dortmund have been in tremendous form in the Bundesliga under Tuchel and it would be a great match between two Europa league contenders at the Westfalenstadion.

Christian Benteke faces a race against time to be fit for Liverpool's Merseyside derby next month. Liverpool travel to Everton on the 4th of October but the availability of the Belgian striker is in doubt following his injury in the match against Norwich .

Christian Benteke
The summer signing from Aston Villa was withdrawn at half time against Norwich after reporting a tight hamstring. His replacement Danny Ings scored for Liverpool but they could only manage a draw at home against the Canaries.

Benteke underwent a scan on Tuesday and missed Liverpool's clash against Carlisle United in the Carling Cup. Reports suggest that the Belgian will be out for up to two weeks and he will surely miss Liverpool's next Premier league game against Aston Villa and their Europa league clash against Sion.

The absence of the striker will be a huge blow for Brendan Rodgers. There have been rumours that Liverpool are looking to replace him with former Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti, following Liverpool's poor run this season. Liverpool have no won their last six competitive games and the pressure is mounting on Rodgers.

Danny Ings has performed well in the absence of Benteke and scored two goals in his last two appearances. But in matches against Aston Villa and Everton, Liverpool will miss the physicality and presence offered by Benteke. Liverpool will need to win both those games to get their season back on track. They are currently 13th in the league with just 8 points from six games.

Key first team players Dejan Lovren and Jordan Henderson are also out injured for Liverpool.

Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw by Bordeaux in their first match of this year's Europa league. Adam Lallana opened the scoring with a wonderful strike before Bordeaux substitute Jussie leveled the scores with just nine minutes remaining.

Adam Lallana nets wonderful individual effort as Liverpool held in Bordeaux.
Brendan Rodgers made a lot of changes to his starting line up as he took this game as a chance to experiment with his team after suffering consecutive losses in the league. Seven changes were made to the team that lost 3-1 to Manchester United; Lallana, Origi, Sakho and Rossiter all got to start the game. Rodgers also gave his young players a chance with Ibe, Rossiter, Chirivella and Brannagan featuring at some point.

Rodgers shifted to a 3 at the back formation and their defence was first tested when they failed to deal with a long ball only for Diego Rolan to shoot over the net. Pedro Chirivella came on for his debut in the first half when Kolo Toure was forced off after colliding with Mignolet.

Towards the end of the first half, Khazri went on a solo run only to shoot straight at Mignolet. Coutinho then rattled the post with a stinging shot in the first half injury time to almost give Liverpool the lead. The half ended with neither side being able to create many chances.

Liverpool started the second half brightly and Lallana nearly scored a beauty as he took a pass from Coutinho on the turn only to shoot straight at the goalkeeper.

Bordeaux then had the chance of the game but was unable to score when Enzo Crivelli failed to guide the ball into an empty net after Mignolet had saved from Maurice-Belay in the 63rd minute.

The hosts were made to pay as just minutes later, Adam Lallana nutmegged and ran past Pablo to place the shot on the far corner of the net. Danny Ings also had a very similar chance just moments later but he shot wide from a similar position.

It looked as though Liverpool would see off the game but Bordeaux substitute Jussie leveled the scores on the 81st minute after Liverpool defence failed to clear the ball quick enough.

Swiss team FC Sion currently lead the group with three points after beating Ruben Kazan 2-1.

The forgotten man and the unappreciated friend: the Europa League. The competition faces mockery and is the second European competition to the Champions league. Rarely taken serious by most of the bigger sides and later in the competition do you see sides really take it serious? This was evident as the UEFA body decided to announce that the 2015 winners of the competition would earn a spot in the Champions League. This would help? Yes, as the sides have upped their game and the teams who battle to finish in the Champions League spots will take the opportunity to earn a spot. The competition is down to 32, and the 24 through to this stage are in the hat including the 8 sides that finished third in the Champions League. A bout of controversy was in Group F as FK Qarabag had a late winner disallowed and that ended any hopes of progress. It is still a long way off but this is a tournament that Spanish teams have a habit of dominating. The final last season too was an all Spanish affair.

Europa League [Image from flickr by Martin Abegglen]
Three Spanish sides are through to the next stage including Athletic Club who failed to join the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16. Sevilla and Villarreal stand out in the trio and the holders should reach at least the semi finals. They have been unconvincing but have the quality required in their ranks. The sale of talisman Ivan Rakitic slightly weakened them but they should be among the favorites. Germans' hopes will be upon Borussia Mönchengladbach who topped their group, and displayed a great brand of football. The German side will also have their eye on the Champions League incentive.

Among the English teams, Roberto Martinez's side has impressed the most. Despite a defeat on the final day of group stages the side has a good balance and the biggest worry will not be their abilities, rather are the capable of balancing the competitions. Tottenham have shown better form in the Europa League and this is where young Harry Kane managed to flourish and make a claim for a first team spot. Spurs have one of the best sides in the competition on paper. Unfortunately the game is played on grass not paper. A spot in the last eight should be minimum unless the side finally adapts to the style of Mauricio Pochettino. Liverpool do miss Luis Suarez. While the striker got his first goal in the competition for the Nou Camp side, Liverpool could have done with it. A return of Daniel Sturridge could be the best way for the Merseyside side to make the Champions League again.

Napoli leads the race for the competition. Rafael Benitez is a Cup specialist and would be fascinating to see the Italian side draw Athletic Club who knocked them out the Champions League. Benitez' side has impressed the most and should the squad remain injury free, Napoli could claim the coveted prize. AS Roma found the Champions League too big for a challenge. The inexperience dampened Garcia's side had a talented line up but a difficult group. Along with Inter they have an outside chance of progressing. Inter Milan may have finished top, however they have a tendency to blow hot and cold which does not aid their aim of being champions. I would like to think that Andre Villas Boas is on borrowed football is on a sharp decline and his failure to progress from what was a relatively easy group could leave him needing to draw inspiration from the success he gained at Porto.

Salzburg FC, Sporting Lisbon and Wolfsburg are the dark horses that will stir things up. They are the three sides capable of throwing the spanner into the works. We are hoping for an exciting 16 matches as we draw closer to the Warsaw stadium.

Goal of the Group Stages- Erik Lamela

Article contributed by: Benedict Chanakira

Twitter: @bchanakira2

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