Europa League: Liverpool held against Bordeaux in France
Brendan Rodgers took somewhat of a leaf out of Mauricio Pochettino’s Europa League blueprint from last season, as he approached the Reds’ first group game with an emphasis on youth.
Joe Gomez, Jordan Rossiter, Jordon Ibe and Divock Origi all started, and were later joined on the pitch by substitutes Pedro Chirivella and Cameron Brannigan, as Liverpool drew 1-1 with French outfit Bordeaux.
The Reds are 16/1 third favourites with Coral to win the competition and showed some positive signs on the continent, with chief string-puller Philippe Coutinho looking lively throughout.
He even cracked an effort against the post late on in the first half in what was the best chance of the night so far, while striker Diego Rolan, who was linked with Newcastle United in the summer, twice fired over from close range for the hosts and Henri Saivet blasted a free-kick straight at Simon Mignolet.
In the second period, the visitors took greater control of the game, with Rossiter and Chirivella, long-time teammates in the youth team, began to impose themselves. It provided Coutinho and fit again Adam Lallana a platform to perform on.
It was the latter who broke the deadlock with a delightful teed up finish, after nutmegging his marker tucking the ball nicely inside of the far post. Danny Ings almost made it 2-0 with an identical effort when he came on not long after.
However, as inexperienced travelling legs began to tire, Jussie took full advantage for the home side in the last 10 minutes, though, on balance it was a positive showing from Rodgers’ side.
The Northern Irishman paid tribute to his team after the match: “As the game wore on they combined with the other players and I thought they acquitted themselves well,” he said.
“If you take those two, [Jordon] Ibe who is 19, [Joe Gomez] who is 18, there was great encouragement for the young players and supporters. I was so proud of them. I will always give the young players an opportunity if they have the personality.”