By Chris Rowland and Liverpool FC and European Football historian Graeme Riley.
This is an updated version of the Preview used for the home match against Udinese, which we lost 2-3.
Group A Table after 5 games:
Anzhi Makhachkala 10 pts
Liverpool 7 pts
Young Boys 7 pts
Udinese 4 pts
If Liverpool win or lose, it’s easy. If they win, Liverpool qualify through better head-to-head with YB. If they lose, Liverpool are knocked out regardless of the Young Boys result as Udinese would be level on points but would have done the double over Liverpool.
Liverpool draw, Young Boys win – Liverpool are eliminated.
Liverpool draw, Young Boys draw – Liverpool qualify with better head-to-head against YB.
Liverpool draw, YB lose – Liverpool qualify.
Anzhi are already qualified and Udinese are already eliminated, even if they beat Liverpool and Young Boys lose, as YB did the unlikely double over the Italians so would win the ‘head-to-head’.
To sum up, if we avoid defeat we qualify UNLESS Young Boys beat already-qualified Anzhi in Berne (quite feasible but by no means guaranteed).
(Whether you care or not is a debate we’ve had many times and don’t particularly want again 😉 ).
The Udinese Calcio were founded in 1896 but took their first steps in the upper echelons of Italian football in 1925-26. At this stage Italian football was constructed on a regional basis (the national Serie A would only arrive in 1929-30), but Udinese’s flirt with this level lasted just one season as they were immediately relegated from the B section of the Northern Group.
Prior to this they had been semi-regular members of the Veneto section under its various guises, playing under the name of Società Udinese di Ginnastica e Scherma, and he even won the unofficial championship of 1896, but they had failed to progress from this minor regional league and therefore had not yet played in the official national championships.
When the league was reorganised on a national basis, Udinese were nowhere to be seen, falling back into the third tier of the league structure, but they quickly made their way into Serie B before finally reaching the top level in 1950.
After several mediocre seasons in the top flight, they reached a pinnacle of second place in 1954-55, but quickly fell back into mediocrity, largely due to a match fixing scandal which saw them relegated back to Serie B.
By the mid 1960s they had sunk as low as Serie C and remained there until the end of the 1970s, when back-to-back promotions saw them race to Serie A again in 1979. Their say in the top flight would last eight seasons, after which they lived a yo-yo existence until finally stabilising in Serie A in 1995, since when they have been ever-present. Another betting scandal in 1986 saw them have nine points deducted, which led to their relegation that season. Their steady improvement in the league over the last few years culminated in their third placed finish in 2012, the best final placing since 1955.
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