The Five Best Matchups of UEFA Champions/Europa League Knockout Round

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Aug 4, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Liverpool defender Martin Kelly (34) kicks the ball in the first half against Manchester United at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

3.)  Liverpool- Besiktas (Europa League)

Welcome to Europa, Liverpool.  Yes, the fruits of the magical fairy tale that was The Reds’ 2013-14 campaign have spoiled.  A team once walking on clouds has now been sentenced to a race for the Participation Award of soccer trophies.  While I do enjoy watching Europa League because the teams seem to be more evenly matched than its Champions League counterparts, there’s no doubt that joining Europa after a Crash and burn in the CL would be…anticlimactic.  It’d be like eating McDonalds after first tasting a gourmet meal.  Not quite the same.

However, if Brendan Rogers’ side thinks Europa is going to be a cakewalk, they best think again.  Besiktas, their opponent in the first knockout round, went undefeated in the group stage; a group that included the aforementioned Tottenham as well as Asteras Tripoli and Serbian side Partizan.  Their home matchup versus the aforementioned Spurs was Tottenham’s only loss of the group stage.  Besiktas finished first in their group with 3 wins and just as many draws, a point ahead of Tottenham Hotspur.