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Thursday Hoddle of Coffee: Soccer News and Links, February 23, 2017

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Let’s try not to be terrible today, OK?

KAA Gent v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: First Leg Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

I’d like to think today’s match can’t possibly be worse than last week’s, but I’m kinda scared of saying that, so let’s set today’s bar extremely low: Let’s try not to be terrible.

I’m not sure what system I’d like to see us trot out today—we have the personnel to go to three at the back again, but I’m kinda curious to see Winks and Wanyama together in midfield again. It’s good to have a workable system that doesn’t require Mousa Dembele, it’s also good to rest Dembele, and it’s also good to give Winks match time. (I’m still keen to see us try out a 4-3-3 with the same front three as in our 3-4-3 but with a midfield trio of Wanyama, Winks, and Dembele.)

The bad news, of course, is not only that we’re down 1-0 on aggregate, but that we do not have an away goal, so if we concede today that means we have to win by two goals to advance as any one-goal victory besides 1-0 Spurs would see Gent through by virtue of the away goals rule.

How are you feeling about today? How much do you care about this game? Would you rather Spurs make a run at a depleted Europa League field and try to qualify for the Champions League that way or do you still think the league is the safest route and we should emphasize that?

Links:

Get to know City of Liverpool FC

The Reinvention of Steven N’Zonzi

A History of Soccer’s Greatest Point Deductions

Don’t miss Knutson on how to think about set pieces.