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Page last updated at 22:19 GMT, Thursday, 4 November 2010

Europa League as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

2215: So a night of contrasting fortunes for Manchester City and Liverpool, two sides enjoying rather different runs of form at the minute. Up next for Roberto Mancini's men - West Brom, followed swiftly by the Manchester derby - while Liverpool host Chelsea on Sunday as they look to continue their mini-renaissance. Join Chris Bevan for the weekend's action now won't you? Top work people.

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"It's captain marvel Steven Gerrard to the rescue again as he inspires Liverpool to a win that puts them on the brink of the last 32."

David Ornstein reports:
"Lech leave it late to give City the KO and crank up the pressure on boss Mancini."

2207: So what happened tonight then? Well...

AwfulEngland on 606: "Just seen that horror tackle by Aronica - gets worse every time. A true leg-breaker."

MJF via text: "Re: Alex - that should read Steven Gerrard carries that club in his heart. He bleeds Red that boy!"

2200: So on the day Manchester City suffer three defeats on the spin for the first time under Roberto Mancini, Liverpool record a third successive win for the first time under Roy Hodgson. Whatever your views on the Europa League, you have to say either or both of those could be big results don't you?

Mad_for_Chelsea on 606: "I love the Liverpool fans, and a good performance from Liverpool in the second half, but they'll be worried by their first half IMO."

alexedwards07 on Twitter: "Steven Gerrard carries that club on his shoulders. If there was a way to define him, that hat-trick is it."

Full time
2154: FULL-TIME Liverpool 3-1 Napoli

2152: What a turnaround. Anfield is jumping.

Liverpool goal: Boom. Straight from the Napoli keeper's goal-kick Liverpool press well and Lucas tackles, the ball breaking to Steven Gerrard who takes a touch and dinks it over the onrushing Morgan de Sanctis to wrap up the win and his treble.

2150: GOALFLASH Liverpool 3-1 Napoli (Gerrard hat-trick)

Liverpool goal: He's turned it on it's head. Steven Gerrard steps up to lash home a beauty of a penalty after Glen Johnson is felled in the box. The culprit? Salvatore Aronica.

2148: GOALFLASH Liverpool 2-1 Napoli (Gerrard pen)


blueboy83 on 606: "I hope Ngog's ok. Its a miracle he was even able to stand after that challenge."

2145: Just over five minutes left of normal time at Anfield, and dare I say it's Liverpool looking the more ambitious.

2143: Lucas is being introduced, David Ngog - still limping - the man replaced.

2140: That is a truly awful challenge. Salvatore Aronica goes in high and stamps on the shin David Ngog - but the French referee Fredy Fautrel misses it and the Napoli man gets away with it. Shocking tackle.

2139: Interesting to see Roy Hodgson's reaction to that goal, the Liverpool manager celebrating manically on the touchline. As my colleague points out, you rarely saw that from him at Fulham. Is that the pressure talking? It can only be, right?

Liverpool goal: Captain Marvel indeed. Jonjo Shelvey's break looks to have come to nothing until Napoli make a right mess of the clearance and Steven Gerrard is able to latch on to Andrea Dossena's poor backpass to bravely get to the ball ahead of keeper Morgan de Sanctis and slide home.

2136: GOALFLASH Liverpool 1-1 Napoli (Gerrard)

2133: Actually a replay shows that it only missed by a gnat's eyelash if you've seen one with yard-wide eyelashes. Ahem. Still a good effort, though, by Stevie Gerrard.

2133: Oh my word, that's missed - at most - by a gnat's eyelash, curled right-footed past the post.

2132: Now then, Steven Gerrard earns a free-kick, centre of goal, 22 yards out. Step forward captain marvel?

Yellow card
2128: Sotiris Kyrgiakos and Hugo Campagnaro each get a booking - the first for the foul, the latter for waving the imaginary yellow card in reply.

2126: Deary me, Raul Meireles wastes a golden opportunity to level for Liverpool when David Ngog's touch finds the Portuguese midfielder eight yards out in the centre of goal but he clips his shot wide of the post. The reaction of Roy Hodgson and John Henry say it all. Far from happy.

2125: And it'll be Christian Poulsen who makes way for the young forward. Liverpool revert to 4-4-2.

2124: Looks like 19-year-old striker Nathan Eccleston is going to get his chance to make a mark on proceedings for Liverpool.

2120: Liverpool have countered with impressive purpose on occasion this half and this time David Ngog picks out Jonjo Shelvey at the far post unmarked, only for the young midfielder to head horribly off target.

2117: Ezequiel Lavezzi shows an impressive change of pace down the right to get past Sotiris Kyrgiakos but his deep cross goes behind Pepe Reina's goal and a goal-kick is given.

2115: A brief break in play at Anfield, so let me bring you Roberto Mancini's reaction to Man City's 3-1 defeat to Lech Poznan earlier this evening. Someone should probably tell him Lech, and not City, top Group A now, though. "This is football. Probably if we played this game another 100 times we would win 90 times, maybe. But we must accept this. We must continue to work because sometimes you lose games you don't deserve to lose. It's better that these things happen now. We are still first in the group and fourth in the Premier League. We can change this only if we stay together."

2112: Top move from Liverpool and David Ngog should do better. Jonjo Shelvey slides in Raul Meireles in the box and the Portuguese's lay-off finds Ngog eight yards out, but Napoli keeper Morgan de Sanctis is out swiftly to beat away the Frenchman's attempted clipped finish.

2110: A more combative start to this second half as opposed to the open one we witnessed at the start of this match, Liverpool keen to keep things tight early doors in this half by the look of things.

Scouse House Mafia on 606: "Jovanovic off?! Now we have five central midfielders on... brilliant!"

2106: And Napoli kicks us off in the second half.

2105: Here comes Steven Gerrard for Liverpool, the Anfield hero on to replace Milan Jovanovic.

Dylan2203 606: "Surprised not to see Forest there (see 2057)."

2100: Word reaches me that Steven Gerrard is warming up for Liverpool.

conversion_guru on Twitter: "Interesting to see Napoli play with three attackers away from home. Do you think they know Roy would play three holding midfielders?"

2057: Quiz result time! Manchester City became the 11th English club to score 100 or more goals in European club competition this afternoon, we asked you who were the other 10. Well...
Number of goals in bold
561 Liverpool
519 Manchester United
373 Arsenal
286 Tottenham Hotspur
282 Chelsea
247 Leeds United
182 Newcastle United
115 Everton
120 Ipswich Town
101 Aston Villa
100 Manchester City
Supplied by Infostrada Sports
Far too many of you to mention got it right, well done all of you. Obviously, I have no prizes to give any of you. Move along.

Europa League Phil: "Right then. When it comes to 2005 GMT kick-offs in the Europa League, I'm your man. A few selected highlights - Steaua Bucharest are drawing 1-1 with FC Utrecht in the other game in Liverpool's group, PSV Eindhoven are 2-0 up on Debrecen and Porto have a 1-0 advantage against Besiktas."

Half time
2051: HALF-TIME Liverpool 0-1 Napoli
Mandeep Sanghera's HT snap-shot:
"Liverpool's full strength side would have trouble coping with the energy and industry of Napoli let alone a Reds side mostly consisting of fringe players."

2050: And there indeed is the half-time whistle.

2049: Just drifting a bit towards the half-time break this game now.

2046: Sounds like there are disturbances outside the ground, where a few scuffles have broken out involving Napoli fans who could not get into the ground, which is a worry. Apparently too, according to the voices on my telebox, there are pockets of Napoli fans among the Liverpool supporters all around Anfield. Also a worry.

2043: Good effort, good save. Glen Johnson drives infield from the right and sends a wicked curler at goal left-footed, Morgan de Sanctis getting down well in the Napoli goal to save.

2041: Liverpool have actually responded pretty well to going a goal down, even if clear-cut chances have been thin on the ground.

2039: A couple of interested/interesting (delete as applicable) onlookers at Anfield, by the way - new owner John Henry and new director of football strategy Damien Comolli. Which is nice.

2036: Almost a cracking response from Liverpool, Christian Poulsen splitting the Napoli defence with a neat pass but David Ngog succeeding only in sliding his finish wide from 16 yards.

Napoli goal: It's been coming, too. Edinson Cavani latches on to Christian Poulsen's poor header and nods it through for Ezequiel Lavezzi to run clear of the Liverpool defence and slide under Pepe Reina. No less than Napoli deserve.

2033: GOALFLASH Liverpool 0-1 Napoli (Lavezzi)

Yellow card
2031: Glen Johnson goes into the book for a clumsy late tackle on Edinson Cavani.

2030: He's looked very good this half, Ezequiel Lavezzi, and still the Liverpool defence give him all the time in the world to have a pop at goal from range, the winger's slammed effort zipping inches past Pepe Reina's far post with the Spaniard struggling to get across.

Imran_786 on 606: "No Babel at all for Liverpool again? Roy really does seem to have something against him as well."

2027: Better from Liverpool, David Ngog feeding off Glen Johnson's positive run and firing left-footed at goal, Morgan de Sanctis down at his near post to save easily.

2025: Not good from Edinson Cavani, the Uruguayan blazing well over the Liverpool bar from inside the area after being found clear in the box brilliantly by Ezequiel Lavezzi. Napoli on top.

2024: By the way - I've not forgotten our quiz (see 1938) - answers coming up at half-time. I know, you can't wait can you?

2021: Ezequiel Lavezzi releases Marek Hamsik and the Napoli forward looks to have got in behind the Liverpool defence, but Jamie Carragher recovers well to snuff out the danger.

2019: Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina does well to come out and collect a volleyed cross from the left by Andrea Dossena under pressure from Edinson Cavani. Quite an open game so far, this.

2016: That's a shame, Raul Meireles just failing to control Milan Jovanovic's smart centre and the Portuguese midfielder clumsily felling the Napoli defender attempting to retrieve the ball.

2014: Bit wild from Raul Meireles as he goes sliding in on Napoli keeper Morgan de Sanctis and while he claims to have slipped on the wet surface, he's a little fortunate not to get booked for that for me there.

2010: Napoli threaten for the first time through Ezequiel Lavezzi, but the winger's cross is deflected behind and the corner comes to nothing.

2009: With Napoli playing with a narrow three-man defence and wing-backs there is plenty of space down the flanks for Liverpool to exploit - and already Milan Jovanovic and Glen Johnson are enjoying themselves by the touchlines.

2007: It's a bright ol' start for Liverpool, full of intent, in the opening couple of minutes and twice Milan Jovanovic crosses from the left cause problems - the second dropped under zero pressure by Morgan de Sanctis. Encouraging for Liverpool.

2005: Liverpool get us up and running.

2002: Our focus turns to Anfield, then, and it looks a pretty full house for Liverpool-Napoli. Are you ready?

kemprock on Twitter: "No Pacheco at all for Liverpool again? Roy really does seem to have something against him."

1957: Now then, who saw that coming tonight? A cracking win for Lech, but expect all the headlines tomorrow to focus on Roberto Mancini. No matter how unified he says the dressing room is, you just can't lose games like that given the amount of money he's spent... can you?

Neveronfrontpage on 606: "Bottom line for Mancini is Champions League qualification. His line-ups for the League Cup, Europa Cup and, I anticipate, FA Cup show that is the only thing that matters. Top four finish and he stays, outside the top four and a cup trophy wouldn't be enough to stop the axe. Therefore..."

Europa League Phil: "I suspect most of you will be paying rather more attention to Man City's third straight defeat, but elsewhere in Europe there have been wins for holders Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Sparta Prague, amongst others. In the other game in City's group, Juventus drew 0-0 with SV Salzburg - which will at least be of some small comfort for Roberto Mancini tonight, I'm sure."

Full time
1952: FULL-TIME Lech Poznan 3-1 Man City

1950: Roberto Mancini on the bench looks like someone has rubbed marmite on his top lip. Not happy.

Lech Poznan goal: Incredible. It's definitely going to be three straight defeats for Roberto Mancini now. Vincent Kompany loses possession and Mateusz Mozdzen picks the ball up and smashes it like an arrow into Shay Given's top corner from 22 yards. Unstoppable.

1948: GOALFLASH Lech Poznan 3-1 Man City (Mozdzen)

1947: Oh David Silva, you have to score. Adam Johnson drives brilliantly down the left and puts it on a plate for Silva six yards out, but the Spaniard spoons over. We'll have four minutes of stoppage time.

1946: I expect these last few minutes we'll witness a Man City siege - and Aleksandar Kolarov is the first to try his luck with a low drive from range than just zips past the far post.

Lech Poznan goal: He knows nothing about it, but Manuel Arboleda looks like he's won it for Lech Poznan. Sergei Krivets drifts in a free-kick from deep and Dedryck Boyata succeeds only in pinging his defensive header off the back of Arboleda's head, the ball ricocheting into Shay Given's goal. Unbelievable.

1943: GOALFLASH Lech Poznan 2-1 Man City (Arboleda)

Canadian Wanderer on 606: "Re 1922 - Name the 11 English teams. I think I have 10."
Right then folks, we have our Thursday quiz question. Do your worst.

1938: The pace of this match looks to have taken its toll on both sides in the last few minutes, who fancies stepping up and grabbing a winner?

1935: Hhmm... not the most attacking of substitutions. Vincent Kompany comes on to replace James Milner - is Roberto Mancini settling for a draw here?

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson rests Fernando Torres and limits captain Steven Gerrard to a place on the bench ahead of the home clash with Chelsea on Sunday. Right-back Glen Johnson returns to the side after a four-game absence and is one of six changes from the win at Bolton. David Ngog spearheads the Reds attack as youngsters Jonjo Shelvey and Jay Spearing also start. Napoli stick with the same side which drew 0-0 in the reverse fixture as ex-Liverpool defender Andrea Dossena starts."

Someone has struck the woodwork
1931: And now City come close to taking the lead as Emmanuel Adebayor breaks through on the left and picks out an on-rushing David Silva on the edge of the penalty area. The Spaniard hits his volley into the ground but it looks to be looping in, only to bounce off the crossbar and behind for a goal kick.

Meerschaum_221B on 606: "Hey I didn't know that someone from Togo is 'Togolese'...from Blue Peter with John Noakes to BBC Sport... where would I be without the Beeb?"

rafa_crossgate on Twitter: "You're not singing anymore - "Nie ?piewaj? ju?"."

1927: Aleksandar Kolarov comes on for Wayne Bridge.

Europa League Phil: "Juventus are still goalless at home to SV Salzburg, but CSKA Moscow have stormed back from a goal down to lead Palermo 3-1. Dynamo Kiev are 2-0 up on AZ Alkmaar."

1925: Big penalty shout - and City are perhaps lucky to get away with this one. Wayne Bridge looks to have clipped the heels of Slawomir Peszko as the Lech man gets into the City box, but Dutch referee Pieter Vink waves away the appeals. Sigh of relief for City, that. Moments later Jacek Kielb fires low just past Shay Given's post from the edge of the area. Having settled immediately after their equaliser, City are looking decidedly uncomfortable again.

1922: Infostrada Sports remind us, by the way, that Emmanuel Adebayor's strike was Man City's 100th goal in European club competition. City are the 11th English club to score a century of goals in Europe.

Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Konchesky, Poulsen, Spearing, Shelvey, Meireles, Jovanovic, Ngog. Subs: Hansen, Gerrard, Lucas, Wilson, Kelly, Skrtel, Eccleston.
Napoli: De Sanctis, Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica, Maggio, Pazienza, Gargano, Dossena, Hamsik, Lavezzi, Cavani. Subs: Gianello, Grava, Dumitru, Santacroce, Zuniga, Yebda, Sosa.
Referee: Fredy Fautrel (France)

1919: All of a sudden Lech burst into the City box again - they really are proving a threat on the counter-attack - and Artjoms Rudnevs lashes goalwards from the angle, forcing Shay Given into a clumsy - but just about effective - save low at his feet.

i_m_jezuz fuzel on Twitter: "What's Polish for 'you're not singing anymore'?"
Haha, oh yes - I like it.

1914: Marcin Kikut earns half a yard of space inside the Man City box from Slawomir Peszko's run, but Joleon Lescott recovers well to get his foot into the tackle. Both sides looking dangerous on the break.

Yellow card
1912: Now it's the Lech players looking a little rattled and Ivan Djurdjevic goes into the book for a wild slash at Pablo Zalaleta's heels.

1911: Immediately after City's equaliser, Lech make a substitution as goalscorer Dimitrije Injac is replaced by Jacek Kielb.

Man City goal: The best possible start to the second half for City. Emmanuel Adebayor sees a firm header from James Milner's corner well saved by Lech keeper Jasmin Buric, but it falls straight back into the Togolese's lap and he smashes City level from six yards out. Six minutes of the half gone - game on.

1908: GOALFLASH Lech Poznan 1-1 Man City (Adebayor)

1907: Good burst from David Silva as the substitute breaks into the Lech box, his cross deflected behind for a corner...

1905: Semir Stilic pushes forward as Lech threaten on the break again - Patrick Vieira and Pablo Zabaleta again exposed - but the Lech midfielder's shot is blocked. Meanwhile, I'm getting some very, erm, questionable translations for 'you're getting sacked in the morning' from some of you. Thanks anyway.

1903: We are back under way. If things stay as they are tonight, by the way, Lech Poznan will join City at the top of Group A and leave Roberto Mancini's men needing four points from their last two games to guarantee progression to the last 32.

1902: David Silva will indeed by making his introduction, in place for Shaun Wright-Phillips - who can have few arguments with that after a poor first half.

Steven Gerrard starts on the bench against Napoli, while Fernando Torres is rested completely.

1855: Hats off to tigercity on 606, who has informed myself, Charlotte and no doubt thousands of others that Polish for 'you're getting sacked in the morning' is... "dostajesz zwolniony z rana!". Now, if someone could just spell that out phonetically... actually, erm, maybe not. There's still plenty of time left in this match, though, folks so don't write your obituaries just yet. David Silva and Mario Balotelli as second-half substitutes anyone?

Charlotte, stuck on the train home, via text: "What's Polish for 'you're getting sacked in the morning'?"

Europa League Phil: "Ah 1-0 - it's the most dangerous scoreline in football. Or is that 2-0? I forget... Anyway, there's been a few fightbacks with Sporting Lisbon, FC Sheriff Tiraspol and Lille all fighting back to level at 1-1. Italian giants Juventus, meanwhile, are 0-0 at home to SV Salzburg."

Half time
1847: HALF-TIME Lech Poznan 1-0 Manchester City
David Ornstein's HT snap-shot:
"City's bright start undone by Injac's fizzing opener. Advantage Lech on a what is turning into a wet and miserable night for Roberto Mancini's men."

Yellow card
1846: The half-time whistle blows with Lech on the attack - much to Artjoms Rudnevs's chagrin, the Lech man going into the book for his protests.

1845: Lech Poznan threatening to do something of a job on City here. As the half has gone on Roberto Mancini's men have struggled increasingly to find any sort of decent space on the ball and City have plenty of work to do here.

1843: Half a sniff around the edge of the Lech Poznan box for Shaun Wright-Phillips but he gets muscled out of it and the hosts clear their lines.

Yellow card
1839: Two bookings in quick succession, Wayne Bridge yellow carded this time for a rash challenge on Slawomir Peszko.

TopClassCitizen on 606: "I need to stop watching City whilst I'm on my laptop. I get so frustrated, I start hitting it."

Yellow card
1837: First yellow card of the match and it goes to Man City right-back Micah Richards for a foul on Sergei Krivets. He's looked a little off the pace this evening, Richards.

1835: City looking a little shell-shocked in the immediate aftermath of that goal and Lech are visibly growing in confidence by the minute. What would a third defeat on the spin mean for Roberto Mancini I wonder? Long way to go just yet, though.

1832: Apologies - scoreline wrong way round there, it was indeed Lech's goal. Please refresh.

Lech Poznan goal: Exactly what Man City didn't need in this atmosphere. The crowd goes ballistic as Dimitrije Injac, latching on to a poor clearance from Sergei Krivets's cross, lashes home low into the corner with a fabulous finish.

1830: GOALFLASH Lech Poznan 1-0 Man City (Injac)

1828: A rare moment of calm in what has been a captivating match so far in Poland. City building patiently.

Anon via text: "Just on my way to Anfield. Weather awful. Drive carefully everyone."

1823: So, so close for Lech, Slawomir Peszko ripping a free-kick from range through the flimsiest of Manchester City walls and just inches past Shay Given's post with the keeper beaten. Moments later, Semir Stilic cuts inside and fires wide. Warning shots.

Europa League Phil: "Around Europe, it's happy days for fans of 1-0 scorelines. Last year's winners Atletico Madrid are one of six sides to be winning by a slender margin in the other 1800 GMT kick-offs, along with the likes of Levski Sofia and Palermo. Which is nice."

BacktoHighburyplease on 606: "City's second team is as good as most mid-table clubs in the EPL. Should really be taking advantage of this."

1819: Scramble! City have three clear chances to take the lead and waste them all. First Patrick Vieira's header is blocked, then Emmanuel Adebayor's effort from the follow-up cross is cleared off the line by Marcin Kikut, before Dedryck Boyata wastes arguably the best chance of the move, heading Adam Johnson's clipped pass straight at the keeper. Big let-off for the hosts.

1816: A fine counter-attack from Lech and at one point it's three v two on the City defence - but the final ball is too strong and Shay Given gratefully collects coming out of goal. These are no pushovers, Lech, that's for sure.

1814: The hosts just starting to get a foothold in this match, and Sergei Krivets tries his luck with a long-ranger - the ball flying harmlessly wide.

1810: The first hint of what Lech might threaten this evening as Sergei Krivets threatens to burst in at goal from the left, but the City defence recover well to clear.

1807: Snap-shot on the turn from just inside the area on the right by Emmanuel Adebayor, bringing a flying save out of home keeper Jasmin Buric. Moments later Joleon Lescott is rightly flagged offside moments before the defender taps in from close range. It's all City.

1806: Man City turning the screw in these opening stages and Lech Poznan have their backs to the wall a touch with James Milner, Adam Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips all probing well across the pitch.

1804: Great early chance for City as Adam Johnson dances into the box and lays it back to James Milner, but his toe-poked shot from 16 yards is blocked well on the slide by Luis Henriquez.

1803: It's as our man David Ornstein predicted by the look of things, with Patrick Vieira and Pablo Zabaleta sitting in front of the Man City back four with James Milner floating in a free role behind Emmanuel Adebayor. The 42,000-capacity crowd is jumping in this newly-renovated stadium and both teams zipping the ball about well early on.

1800: Nice and prompt - we're under way.

1757: It's line-dancing a-go-go at the Stadion Miejski with the Lech fans linking arms and jumping around more rhythmically than a metronome - hypnotic. Some rather large City fans respond by removing their tops - not so hypnotic. Anyway... here come the players! Hurrah.

1753: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini: "I always put out a strong team. We played four days ago and play again in three days time, so it's difficult. We beat Lech at Eastlands and I hope we can win tonight. All of our games are important. Now is the Europa League and for us it's very important because if win we are in second stage. We have 21, 22, 23 players and when we play every three days I must change the players."

hunt_tweet on Twitter: "To all ma fellow Liverpool fans let's keep the faith, its going to be a win..."

Paul from pie land via text: "Wow my beloved Wigan Athletic mentioned in the same breath as Man City, Liverpool and Lech Poznan!!!"

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Life has started to settle down at Liverpool and they go into the game against Napoli aiming to register three wins in a row for the first time this season. Reds boss Roy Hodgson is expected to field some of his more familiar names with the game being at home, although he will have one ye on the league game with Chelsea on Sunday. Damien Comolli will be an interested observer after his appointment as director of football strategy at the Anfield club on Wednesday and he might be interested in casting an eye over Napoli players Marek Hamsik and Edinson Cavani, who have been linked with moves to the Premier League."

1747: Before we concentrate on the Lech-City match, though, how about a brief look at our bumper Liverpool-Napoli tie later on this evening? Lovely.

Anon via text: "We love you really Sam .. (awkward...)"

Mr_MEJ on Twitter: "I think both Liverpool and Man City will find it tough going tonight, score draw for both."

1743: So how do we call tonight? With the aid of Infostrada Sports' Euro Club Index of course! You know you love it. Lech Poznan (ranked 171 in the world - about the same as Wigan Athletic) have a 16% chance of beating Man City (59%), who are ranked 23rd on the list. Liverpool, meanwhile, are ranked 12th and have a 65% chance of beating Napoli (13%), who are 63rd alongside the likes of Fulham.

Daniel Punt, Worlingham via text: "Re: MohamudWarsame - Touching, yet completely disturbing!"

Chris in Basingstoke via text: "Re: MohamudWarsame - I thought Sam Lyon was a girl."

1738: Now then, let me me hit you with some stats. Man City are on a six-match unbeaten run in European competition, have won both their European away games this season without conceding a goal, and are a goal away from their 100th in Uefa club competition. All road point to a City win then... right? Liverpool, meanwhile, might have had a few early-season struggles in the league but they are unbeaten in eight European games and have won their last seven at Anfield. Still, Napoli themselves have not lost in five European games this season - and Rommy, below, has underlined their threat away from home. Tougher to call that one.

insomnijac on Twitter: "I love Thursday football! Bring it on."

Rommy, London via text: "Napoli's away record this season: W4 D3 L0."

MohamudWarsame on 606: "I wish Sam Lyon was actually a girl."

David Ornstein reports:
"Not for the first time in this season's Europa League, Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini rings the changes. There are eight in all from Saturday's defeat at Wolves, the most notable seeing Mario Balotelli drop to the bench when he was tipped for a first European start. Elsewhere, Joleon Lescott, Dedryck Boyata and Wayne Bridge come into defence, Patrick Vieira and Pablo Zabaleta will hold in central midfield and Adam Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips get a run out on the wings. Leading the line for hosts Lech is top scorer Artjoms Rudnevs, while Bartosz Bosiacki takes the captain's armband in Jose Maria Bakero's first game in charge."

g33kNchips on Twitter: "Got an hour left of work...nothing is getting finished now the footy is on the way! Hail the early kick-off!"

RKW - White Eagle on 606: "Lech Poznan looked decent at Eastlands in the last Europa League game, with fantastic support (don't expect anything less tonight). The atmosphere will be electric tonight but I think Man City's class will see them through 2-1."

1728: So of course Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has spent at least part of his build-up towards this match defending his team's unity, following reports of rifts within the ranks at Eastlands. "If there is someone who wants to write these lies, they can do. I'm happy for them, but it is not true," he said. Strong words. James Milner added his weight to the defence, claiming "the nonsense written in the papers just brings you closer together", while Gareth Barry said: "We are all pulling in the right direction and hopefully we can get there as a soon as we can." Sounds like we can look forward to a strong team performance tonight - which can only be bad news for Lech Poznan.

redandblackT 606: "(Bad pun alert)Lech get ready to rumble."

ryanvenndunn on Twitter: "Is every match from now potentially kickstarting Liverpool's season?!?"

Lech Poznan:
Buric, Kikut, Bosacki, Arboleda, Henriquez, Peszko, Injac, Djurdjevic, Krivets, Stilic, Rudnevs. Subs: Kotorowski, Gancarczyk, Bandrowski, Wilk, Kielb, Zapotoka, Mozdzen.
Man City: Given, Zabaleta, Richards, Boyata, Lescott, Adam Johnson, Vieira, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Milner, Adebayor. Subs: Hart, Kompany, Kolarov, Barry, Silva, Jo, Balotelli.
Referee: Pieter Vink (Holland)

DanSalvage on Twitter: "As a Man Utd fan, tonight I will become Polish between 6-8pm and Italian between 8-10pm!"

Robbie, Sedgefield via text: "RE: 1705 - if you were a real fan you wouldn't leave for toilet breaks. Just sit it out."

As many as nine teams can confirm their progress into the last 32 tonight, led by Manchester City who would guarantee a top-two finish in Group A with a win over Lech Poznan courtesy of their better head-to-head record against the Polish outfit (Lech, in theory, could still finish on the same points). Sporting, CSKA Moscow, Zenit St Petersburg, VfB Stuttgart, FC Porto and Paris St Germain can also guarantee qualification with victory. It's a little less cut-and-dried for Liverpool, but a win over Napoli tonight would leave them needing just a draw against Steaua Bucharest on 2 Dec to go through. Nice.

bryantjuniour on Twitter: "If Liverpool win today then they could really kickstart their season, fingers crossed."

Scott, Morecambe via text: "The early kick-off isn't good for me - I'm stuck in work till 1945! Ah well there's always record, just gotta last these last hours without workmates telling me the score! BLUE MOON!"

Mario Balotelli starts on the bench in Poland, with Emmanuel Adebayor preferred up front.

David Ornstein reports:
"Stung by two straight league defeats and reports of unrest in the camp, City travel to Poland keen to silence their critics. Win and they're through to the last 32, but in Lech they face a side aiming to boost their own hopes of qualification and exact revenge for defeat at Eastlands a fortnight ago. Wednesday's sacking of coach Jacek Zielinski did not make for ideal preparation, but his replacement Jose Maria Bakero was part of the Barcelona "Dream Team" that won the 1992 European Cup - so he knows what it feels like to win on the big stage."

LivingForFootball on 606: "Good day Sam, how about lots of goals and tight matches for the day?"

1709: And while you're keeping your head down trying to avoid the chores/your boss' glares, why not drop me a line and lend me your thoughts on tonight's action? Tweet me @sampatricklyon, get on 606, or text me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). Let's just try to get on a bit better than the Man City team yeah?

1705: It's quite simple tonight, really. Lech Poznan v Man City kicks off a round of a dozen group matches at 1800 GMT, with Liverpool v Napoli leading off another dozen at 2005 GMT. Plenty hanging on both those matches involving the Premier League teams too, so don't even think about leaving your desk/couch/recliner. Except maybe to get refreshments and/or snacks. Oh, and toilet breaks. Obviously.

1700: You've got to love an early Europa League kick-off haven't you? What better way to kill the last few dull moments of your day in the office than with a spot of footy? Exactly. Welcome slackers.

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Europa League results

4 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

  • AA Gent3-1Sporting
  • AEK Athens1-1Anderlecht
  • BATE Borisov3-1FC Sheriff Tiraspol
  • Bayer Leverkusen1-0Aris Salonika
  • Club Bruges0-2Dinamo Zagreb
  • CSKA Moscow3-1Palermo
  • Dynamo Kiev2-0AZ Alkmaar
  • FC Porto1-1Besiktas
  • Getafe0-3VfB Stuttgart
  • Hajduk Split2-3Zenit St P'sbg
  • Juventus0-0SV Salzburg
  • Lausanne Sports1-3Sparta Prague
  • Lech Poznan3-1Man CityFT
  • Levski Sofia2-2Lille
  • Liverpool3-1NapoliFT
  • Odense BK2-0Young Boys
  • PAOK Salonika1-0Villarreal
  • Paris SG0-0Borussia Dortmund
  • PSV Eindhoven3-0Debrecen
  • Rapid Vienna1-2CSKA Sofia
  • Rosenborg1-2Atletico Madrid
  • Sampdoria0-0FC Metalist Kharkiv
  • Sevilla4-0Karpaty Lviv
  • Steaua Bucharest3-1FC Utrecht

Europa Group A table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Lech Poznan 4 2 7
2 Man City 4 2 7
3 Juventus 4 0 4
4 SV Salzburg 4 -4 2

Europa Group B table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Bayer Leverkusen 4 5 8
2 Atletico Madrid 4 3 7
3 Aris Salonika 4 -1 4
4 Rosenborg 4 -7 3

Europa Group C table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Sporting 4 8 9
2 Lille 4 0 5
3 AA Gent 4 -3 4
4 Levski Sofia 4 -5 4

Europa Group D table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Dinamo Zagreb 4 3 7
2 PAOK Salonika 4 1 7
3 Villarreal 4 -1 6
4 Club Bruges 4 -3 2

Europa Group E table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 BATE Borisov 4 6 10
2 Dynamo Kiev 4 1 7
3 FC Sheriff Tiraspol 4 -2 3
4 AZ Alkmaar 4 -5 3

Europa Group F table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 CSKA Moscow 4 11 12
2 Sparta Prague 4 0 7
3 Palermo 4 -5 3
4 Lausanne Sports 4 -6 1

Europa Group G table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Zenit St P'sbg 4 7 12
2 Anderlecht 4 0 4
3 AEK Athens 4 -3 4
4 Hajduk Split 4 -4 3

Europa Group H table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 VfB Stuttgart 4 8 12
2 Young Boys 4 -1 6
3 Odense BK 4 -2 3
4 Getafe 4 -5 3

Europa Group I table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 PSV Eindhoven 4 6 10
2 FC Metalist Kharkiv 4 4 7
3 Sampdoria 4 0 5
4 Debrecen 4 -10 0

Europa Group J table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Sevilla 4 5 9
2 Paris SG 4 3 8
3 Borussia Dortmund 4 0 5
4 Karpaty Lviv 4 -8 0

Europa Group K table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Liverpool 4 5 8
2 Steaua Bucharest 4 -1 5
3 Napoli 4 -2 3
4 FC Utrecht 4 -2 3

Europa Group L table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Nov 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 FC Porto 4 6 10
2 Besiktas 4 0 7
3 Rapid Vienna 4 -3 3
4 CSKA Sofia 4 -3 3

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