The writing is on the wall for Liverpool FC and FC Utrecht on Matchday 6; the Dutch side cannot finish higher than third while the Reds are bound for the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
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The writing is on the wall for both sides as Liverpool FC host FC Utrecht on Matchday 6; the Dutch side cannot finish higher than third while the Reds are bound for the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
• Liverpool are sure to finish top of the section as they boast a superior head-to-head record in their games against second-ranked FC Steaua Bucureşti. However, Utrecht's results against Steaua mean that there is no way that the Dutch side can progress further.
• The sides' first meeting on Matchday 2 was Liverpool's 300th UEFA club competition game, Utrecht's first fixture against an English side and marked Dirk Kuyt's return to the stadium he once called home. However, there were to be no goals.
• Liverpool's 13 games against Dutch clubs have ended W8 D4 L1 (W5 D1 L0 at home). The Reds have won their last five home games against Eredivisie opponents since drawing 2-2 with AFC Ajax in the 1966/67 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round.
• Liverpool are unbeaten in ten European games, including all nine under Roy Hodgson. The Reds have won their last eight European fixtures at Anfield since losing 2-1 to ACF Fiorentina in last season's UEFA Champions League group stage on 9 December 2009; victory against Utrecht would thus complete a perfect set of home results in 2010.
• Utrecht's run of three Group K draws ended with a 3-1 loss at Steaua on Matchday 4, but they secured a fourth tie in the section on Matchday 5, 3-3 at home against SSC Napoli.
• Five of Liverpool's eight Group K goals have come in the final 15 minutes of their games or in second-half added-time.
• Liverpool's Martin Škrtel celebrates his 26th birthday on the day of the Utrecht game.
• Ton du Chatinier represented Utrecht as a defender for the whole of his ten-year professional career, and has not strayed too far from the club since, serving as a youth coach, caretaker manager and assistant boss before being given sole command at the end of 2008.
• Liverpool manager Hodgson joined the club from Fulham FC in the summer after leading the Cottagers to defeat in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League final. Having lost the 1996/97 decider as FC Internazionale Milano coach, he is one of three bosses to have lost two finals in this competition, along with Ernst Happel (1976 and 1982) and Georg Kessler (1981 and 1986).
• A schoolteacher and semi-professional defender, Hodgson won four Swedish titles – with Halmstads BK and Malmö FF – and a Danish crown with FC København as a coach. Switzerland, Inter, Blackburn Rovers FC, Udinese Calcio, the United Arab Emirates, Viking FK and Finland are among his many and varied employers.
• In Hodgson's only previous competitive tie against Dutch opponents, his Malmö side took on Ajax in the 1996/97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final. They won 1-0 at home but lost 3-1 in Amsterdam.
• Liverpool have two Dutch players, forward Ryan Babel and former Utrecht star Kuyt. The latter scored 51 league goals in 160 games for the Dutch club from 1998 to 2003 before leaving to replace Fenerbahçe SK-bound Pierre van Hooijdonk at Feyenoord.