Aberdeen still lead Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 in the Conference League, while Fenerbahce are now 4-0 up on Trnava.
In the Europa League, Lask have levelled at home to Toulouse, while Villarreal lead Rennes 2-1 through Ilias Akhomach and are on course to top Group F.
No goal! Puertas thinks he has a second for Union SG, collecting Amani’s pass and firing into the bottom corner – but after a long wait, the referee is called to the monitor, and disallows the goal for a fairly obvious Amani handball in the build-up.
GOAL! Zrinjski 0-1 Aston Villa (Zaniolo 63′)
Unai Emery throws John McGinn on and he makes an immediate impact, crossing for Nicolò Zaniolo to volley home from close range.
Liverpool have looked a little more solid in the second half, but Union keep pushing forward and Gomez does well to nick the ball away from Amani in the area.
Chelsea are playing Häcken at Stamford Bridge in the Women’s Champions League, kicking off at 8pm. Join Sarah Rendell for that one.
How are Villa getting on? Well, every time I glance at their game, they are deep in the opposing half – but are having to be patient. Alex Moreno gets space to whip in a cross towards Duran, but the Zrinjski keeper claims it.
Bad news for Union SG from elsewhere: Toulouse lead Lask 1-0 through Thijs Dallinga. The Belgians need a Toulouse defeat to stay in the Europa League – as it stands, they’ll drop to the Conference playoffs.
In the Conference League, Ferencvaros have now taken the lead over Fiorentina in Hungary, Kristoffer Zachariassen the man on target. Fenerbahce have doubled their lead through Dusan Tadic’s penalty.
As some of you have pointed out, replays of the first Union SG goal suggest that Amoura was offside when the ball was played through. It looked that way in real time, and while it was VAR checked, we never saw the fabled red and blue lines to clear up any confusion.
We’re back under way. Jürgen Klopp has brought on Joe Gomez and Ryan Gravenberch for Konaté and Endo, both of whom struggled in the first half.
There are a couple of close groups to be settled in the Conference League. Ferencvaros will win Group F if they beat Fiorentina, but could slip to third behind Genk if the Viola win and take top spot.
In Group H, Fenerbahce know a win over Trnava will see them through ahead of Ludogorets and Nordsjælland; the Turkish giants lead 1-0 through Ferdi Kadioglu. Got all that? Good.
In the Women’s Champions League, Bayern Munich and Ajax are level at 1-1 while Paris FC are adding to Real Madrid’s woes – they lead 2-0 at the break.
“Duk’s full name is actually Luís Henriques de Barros Lopes,” writes Graham Watts. “He’s a Cape Verde international who signed for Aberdeen from Benfica B. He’s not been at his best this season but he was absolutely brilliant last season and we love him.”
Conference League half-times
Group E Legia Warsaw 1-0 AZ Alkmaar Zrinjski Mostar 0-0 Aston Villa Group F Ferencvaros 0-0 Fiorentina Genk 1-0 Cukaricki Group G Aberdeen 1-0 Eintracht Frankfurt PAOK 1-1 HJK Helsinki Group H Fenerbahce 1-0 Trnava Ludogorets 0-0 Nordsjælland
Europa League half-times
Group E Lask 0-0 Toulouse Union SG 2-1 Liverpool Group F Panathinaikos 0-1 Maccabi Haifa Rennes 1-1 Villarreal Group G Roma 2-0 Sheriff Tiraspol Slavia Prague 4-0 Servette Group H Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 Molde Qarabag 2-0 Häcken
Half time: Zrinjski 0-0 Aston Villa
Villa have dominated possession but are yet to break the deadlock in Bosnia. It’s still enough to top the group, even with Legia now 1-0 up against AZ Alkmaar.
Half time: Union SG 2-1 Liverpool
At the break, Liverpool’s youthful side are behind, the hosts scoring two goals on the counter either side of Quansah’s leveller.
GOAL! Union SG 2-1 Liverpool (Puertas 43′)
Liverpool’s parity doesn’t last long, as Cameron Puertas catches Kelleher out with a low shot that sneaks in at the near post!
GOAL! Aberdeen 1-0 Frankfurt (Duk 41′)
An eye-catching scoreline at Pittodrie, where Duk (yes, that appears to be his entire name) slides in to turn a cross home and put Aberdeen ahead!
Up against some admittedly slack marking, Konaté fails to control the ball but it falls to centre-back Quansah, who belts it into the corner. That’s his first goal for Liverpool, and very nice it was too.
GOAL! Union SG 1-1 Liverpool (Quansah 39′)
From Liverpool’s first corner, Jarrell Quansah finishes clinically to level it up!
Mohamed Amoura, the hosts’ most dangerous player so far, breaks the deadlock with a bit of luck. Jones gives the ball away and Amoura just beats the offside trap to race on to a through ball. He tries to go round Kelleher, who gets a hand to the ball but sees it richochet kindly for Amoura to tap into an empty net. There’s a VAR check for offside, but the goal stands.
GOAL! Union SG 1-0 Liverpool (Amoura 32′)
The ball’s in the net, in the game at Anderlecht. It’s Amoura!
Liverpool are struggling to get upfield, building from the back but getting outmuscled and then pushed back on the break. Worth remembering, of course, that they have a very inexperienced team out there tonight.
Meanwhile Slavia Prague are 3-0 up on Servette and Leverkusen, like a bottle of Cillit Bang, are making light work of Molde. They lead by the same scoreline.
Maccabi Haifa are a goal up against Panathinaikos in a showdown for third place in Group F. The top two, Rennes and Villarreal, are playing for first place in France – it’s 0-0 at Roazhon Park.
“What are the odds of Liverpool trying to attack Kevin Mac Allister at left back? Ive heard he often gets left on his own at this time of year,” quips Paddy Kennedy.
I wouldn’t be sure, he’s a tenacious competitor even up against two opponents. And yes, the Home Alone namesake is Alexis’ older brother.
Amoura gets beyond Bradley down the Liverpool right, but slips as he tries to bend the ball inside Kelleher’s far post and his shot flies wide. Moments later, the keeper rushes out to save well from Nilsson with his legs.
Over in Mostar, Matty Cash sees his deflected shot saved as Villa enjoy some early possession. Their rivals for top spot, Legia Warsaw, are goalless at home to AZ Alkmaar.
A few goals elsewhere: Roma lead Sheriff 1-0 through Romelu Lukaku, but Slavia Prague are also a goal up against Servette. They will top Group G ahead of Roma if they match the Italian side’s result.
In Group H, group winners Leverkusen lead Molde through Patrik Schick while Qarabag scored in the first minute against Häcken and are on course for second.
Should Union SG stay in third place in their group, they will drop into the Europa Conference League playoffs with the runners-up from that tournament’s group stage. It’s a big admin night.
The hosts are causing a few problems for Liverpool’s youthful back four, although they are yet to get a shot on target, with Sadiki dragging his effort wide of goal.
Amoura leads the first Union SG attack, but is crowded out and Kelleher can collect the cross. The hosts need to win tonight, and also need Toulouse to lose against LASK in Austria.
Already signs that Uefa’s official Liverpool formation was very wrong – Ben Doak is playing on the left of a front three, with Cody Gakpo the central striker and Kaide Gordon on the right.
We are off in Aberdeen, Mostar and Brussels – Union SG are in fact hosting this game at Anderlecht’s stadium, rather than their own suburban home ground.
Curtis Jones is the Liverpool captain tonight. Jürgen Klopp has singled out the academy graduate as a “real role model for the kids … he’s the oldest of the youngest, the longest-serving at the club.”
“One of the benefits of following Europa and Conference League football is that it keeps your brain challenged, especially the part that’s responsible for geography trivia,” writes Peter Oh.
“I had to look up where Union Saint-Gilloise are located and learned they hail from the outskirts of the Belgian capital. So Liverpool’s young guns will be flexing their muscles, er, near Brussels.”
It’s a good point – obscure football knowledge is the only reason I ever get a University Challenge question right.
There are also two 5.45pm kick-offs in the Women’s Champions League tonight, and they could be pivotal games in the group stage. Bayern Munich host Ajax in Group C, with both teams having already beaten PSG, who face group leaders Roma later.
In Group D, Paris FC welcome Real Madrid with both teams needing a win to keep pace with Häcken and Chelsea. The Swedish side visit Stamford Bridge later – Sarah Rendell will be here for live minute-by-minute coverage.
A definite “glamour friendly” feel to events at Pittodrie, with Mario Götze in the visiting XI. The hosts are out of the Conference League and Frankfurt are going through, so not much at stake. Incidentally, I’m taking the formations from Uefa’s site and some look a little funky – so if I’ve got it wrong, take it up with Ceferin.
So, Villa go with a shuffled but still pretty strong line-up as they seek a point to secure top spot in their group. Filip Marschall, who won the 2021 FA Youth Cup with Villa, makes his debut in goal.
For Liverpool, a whole host of youngsters get a runout including forward Ben Doak, midfielder Kaide Gordon and defender Conor Bradley, who becomes the first Northern Ireland player to start a European game for the Reds.
Union SG v Liverpool teams
Union Saint Gilloise (3-4-3): Moris (c), Mac Allister, Burgess, Machida; Castro-Montes, Amani, Sadiki, Lapoussin; Puertas, Nilsson, Amoura. Subs: Rasmussen, Eckert, Teklab, Rodríguez, Imbrechts, Terho, Sykes, Wenssens, Huygevelde, Leysen.
Aston Villa (4-1-3-2): Marschall; Cash, Konsa, Torres, Álex Moreno; Douglas Luiz (c); Zaniolo, Dendoncker, Diaby; Ramsey, Durán. Subs: Martínez, Diego Carlos, McGinn, Watkins, Digne, Chambers, Kamara, O’Reilly.
The Europa League group stages come to a close tonight, and with it the final jostling for places in the last 16 and playoff rounds in next week’s draws.
Under the current format – which is set to change again next season – there is a big incentive to top the group. Those teams go straight into the last 16, avoiding a two-legged playoff with a jettisoned Champions League side.
Three British teams face their direct rival for top spot in their group in the 8pm kick-offs. West Ham host Freiburg, Brighton welcome Marseille while Rangers face a tricky trip to Real Betis.
In the early kick-offs, Liverpool face crack Belgian outfit Royal Union SG having already secured top spot in Group E. Over in the Europa Conference League, Aston Villa need a point at Zrinjski Mostar to guarantee winning their group, while Aberdeen end their campaign with a glitzy home tie against Eintracht Frankfurt.
All that, and plenty more to play for in both competitions – we’ll have more on the permutations, plus team news and build-up before the early games at 5.45pm GMT.