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UEFA Europa League 2012: Teams in Desperate Need of Wins in Next Set of Matches

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01:  Daniel Agger of Liverpool is congratulated by his team-mates after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield on December 1, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2012

While the UEFA Europa League is a step below the Champions League, it is still a great opportunity for clubs to build on a great season.

Through five games, a number of teams have already clinched their spot in the next round. However, a few others need a big performance in the final match of group play just to advance.

These squads have to play well, but also have the added pressure of increased expectations. All things considered, a loss could be devastating for this group.

 

Liverpool

Liverpool have had a pretty disappointing year all around so far. 

The club currently sits at No. 11 in the English Premier League, which would be the lowest finish since being relegated from Division 1 in 1952-54. 

Doing well in the Europa League will not solve everything, but it could give the team confidence heading into league play. A trophy wouldn't hurt, either.

The Reds are currently tied with the Young Boys for second place in the league, but they have an advantage in goal differential.

Still, a tie should not make this club feel comfortable. Liverpool needs a win over Udinese to ensure that they will head into the next stage.

 

Tottenham Hotspur

Unlike Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur have actually played very well in the EPL of late. 

With a fourth-place finish a year ago, the club should have qualified for the Champions League. However, Chelsea's win last year allowed them to automatically qualify and it forced Tottenham to Europa League.

This year, the club is tied for third behind only Manchester City and Manchester United.

Still, a loss to Panathinaikos would knock them out of the Europa League.

For a club this talented, this would be nothing less than embarrassing.

 

FC Copenhagen

The Denmark squad is only two years removed from reaching the Round of 16 in the Champions League. Now, they are struggling to advance in the Europa League.

FC Copenhagen is currently in third place in Group E, one point behind VfB Stuttgart. They are also five goals back in the differential, so it will take a win to advance.

To make matters worse, the final match is against Steaua Bucruresti, who already beat them once this year.

As the best team in Denmark, Copenhagen has to represent the country with a better performance on Thursday. 

 

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