A snorefest is expected as Liverpool head to Unirea Urziceni in the Europa League

Unirea Urziceni v Liverpool, Europa League last 32, second leg, February 24, 2010

Unirea Urziceni 9/2; Draw 11/4; Liverpool 4/5

All the signs point to this game being another cagey encounter much like the first leg at Anfield a week ago. If it is excitement and goal mouth action you are looking for stay well clear of this Europa League second leg.

If you are a betting man, tips such as betting under 2.5 goals may also at least bring the cash rolling in to compensate for what could be a dreary match in Romania. (Under 2.5 goals at 8/11.)

Much of the build-up to this match for Liverpool has been the return of Fernando Torres, who manager Rafa Benitez has confirmed will start the match from the bench. “El Nino” made a 15 minute cameo at Eastlands on Sunday in one of the worst ever Premier League matches and the Spanish striker could well be called upon to inject some life into this match in the second half. (4/1 to be Draw/Liverpool.)

Whilst Liverpool’s results are clearly picking up in 2010, the excitement levels are hardly setting the pulses racing. There have been no more than two goals scored in any of the last eight matches involving the Merseyside giants. David Ngog’s winner against the Romanian side was their only goal in the last three matches and although one can point to five clean sheets in the last six games, all signs suggest this match will be another borefest. (Liverpool are 6/5 to keep a clean sheet.)

Throw in the fact that Liverpool can sit on their 1-0 lead, that Steven Gerrard has yet to hit top form in 2009/2010 and that Yossi Benayoun is also likely to be on the bench and we have all the ingredients for another frustrating night.

In truth, Unirea are hardly likely to light up this game themselves. In 18 matches in the Romanian Liga I this season they have scored a paltry 25 goals which belies their position in second. Their 4-1 win at Rangers in the Champions League in October may well have distorted our perception of what is a rather ordinary team.

Since the exit of Dan Petrescu as coach, Unirea have returned under Israeli Roni Levi from the winter break by failing to score in their first encounter against Liverpool and falling to a 1-0 defeat to title rivals CFR Cluj on the weekend.

Arguably Unirea’s most talented player, Pablo Brandan, is suspended after picking up a yellow card at Anfield and almost all their best players are in defence. Top goal scorer Marius Bilasco has claimed just five goals in the league and their best attacking threat at Liverpool came from right back Vasilei Maftei.

This match will not be pretty. Liverpool could well snatch a 1-0 win similar to the game last week but Unirea may throw caution to the win and really go for it. Expect the worst.

101gg predicts: Unirea Urziceni 0 – Liverpool 0 (9/1)

Unirea Urziceni 9/2; Draw 11/4; Liverpool 4/5

Full match odds here.