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Rupert Wyman 18th Aug 2010 - 14:04

Joe Cole can Kop a few goals!

Liverpool are currently 9/1 to win the Europa League and if you glance at their squad, it is a definite possibility.  They have been a force in the Champions League for years and the Europa League will be a new experience, but a challenging one.

The Kop will not be dwelling on Liverpool's misfortunes last season and they will see the Europa League as a realistic chance to win silverware. Maybe the Europa League could be dolled up, by offering the winner a spot in the following season's Champions League, but a trophy is a trophy!

In the last round, Liverpool beat the Macedonian minnows FK Rabotnicki over two legs. Trabzonspor will offer a far sterner test, they have an experienced international coach in Senol Gunes. They won the Turkish Cup and Turkish Super Cup recently and have a knack of scoring goals.

After Young Boys surprised Tottenham last night, Liverpool cannot afford to not put the Turks under-pressure. Hodgson knows that if Trabzonspur nick an away goal it could prove fatal to their Europa League destiny.

The Reds are short favourites to win the clash at 1/4 and they should have too much quality for the Turks.  Hodgson will have to make a decision on whether to start Mascherano, who has made the trip. If he starts, it may scupper his potential transfer to Inter Milan. If you fancy the upset, Trabzonspor are 11/1 and the draw is 9/2.

Roy Hodgson has certainly made a great impact at Anfield. He has brought in Joey Cole on a free and there seems to be an air of confidence around the club. It is easy to forget that Hodgson took Fulham all the way to the Europa League final last year.

His best signings of the summer could be Gerrard and Torres, it looks like he has managed to convince two of the Premier League's most coveted stars to stay in the North-West.

I spent much of last season wondering what Benitez saw in Ngog, that the rest of football failed to appreciate. I was his biggest detractor but he has now bulked-up and he looked impressive against Arsenal. He scored a superb goal and maybe he just needed a fresh start under Hodgson.

He will never be a Fernando Torres but he could prove me wrong by starting to find the back of the net regularly. He is 9/2 to score first and 6/5 to score anytime!

The Liverpool defence will have to contain Teofilo Gutierrez, the Columbian international has hit five goals in his last two games and he will be desperate to make an impact in front of the cameras. He is a tasty 7/2 to score anytime.

Joe Cole was unfortunate to be sent-off against Arsenal at the weekend and it was only because he was desperate to impress the home fans. Not only does he have fantastic skills but he is also very hard-working. He is 8/1 to score two or more and he regularly shoots from distance.

If I was to have a small punt, I would back a 3-2 Liverpool victory at 50/1. Trabzonspor are a good attacking side and they will not sit back. After watching Tottenham play last night, I think Liverpool will be too strong for the Turks but they may concede a few goals if they have a shaky start.



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