Europa League preview: Liverpool FC face journey into Un-known

13 February 2010 05:00
Reds face journey into Un-known[LNB]AMONG the eight clubs that joined the Europa League in December were some of European football's more famous names.[LNB]Juventus, Marseille, Atletico Madrid and, of course, Liverpool had all dropped out of the Champions League and were ones to look out for in the last 32 draw.[LNB]With all due respect, Unirea Urziceni weren't.[LNB]Sounding a little like something nasty that might take a course of antibiotics and a couple of weeks to clear up, success has suddenly become infectious for the Romanian minnows.[LNB]Their rise from relative obscurity has been rapid.[LNB]Urziceni only won promotion to the third division for the first time in 2003, with promotion to the top flight coming three years later.[LNB]Indeed, when Liverpool last won the UEFA Cup, Unirea were a semi-professional outfit, struggling to make ends meet in the lower reaches of Romanian football.[LNB]Nine years on and they are reeling from the departure of the manager who guided them to an historic first ever Liga 1 title with which came passage into the Champions League.[LNB]Dan Petrescu is better known in England as the marauding right-back who won an FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners Cup with Chelsea in the mid to late nineties.[LNB]In Romania, he is a national hero. He was one of their most celebrated players and was fast becoming one of his country's most sought after managers.[LNB]That's why his sudden departure just a week after Urziceni had been handed a dream tie against Liverpool in the knockout stages of the Europa League was greeted with shock and derision.[LNB]Derision at the club's board for not backing Petrescu, and shock at his chosen destination.

Source: Liverpool_Echo