Liverpool and Tottenham enjoyed excellent outings in the Europa League on match-day six, defeating Udinese and Panathinaikos, respectively, to seal progress to the knock-out stage.
The Reds had a rare ideal night this season, scoring early through Jordan Henderson and keeping a clean sheet in their 1-0 triumph in Italy without skipper Steven Gerrard.
Even the result in Switzerland went the way of Brendan Rodgers’ side, as Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala lost 3-1 at Young Boys to propel Liverpool to the top of Group A.
Anzhi, level on points with the Reds as well as Young Boys, progressed with second place to break Swiss hearts.
In Group J, Tottenham took care of business just as efficiently as their counterparts from Merseyside, outplaying Panathinaikos 3-1 at White Hart Lane.
Emmanuel Adebayor, Clint Dempsey, and Jermain Defoe all scored in the victory that helped the Spurs qualify in second place, two points behind in-form Lazio.
Newcastle United lost 2-0 away to Bordeaux and although the defeat did not prevent them from qualifying further, it allowed the Ligue 1 outfit to win Group D.
Group B ended on a shocking note for holders Atletico Madrid, who lost 1-0 away to Viktoria Plzen, thus enabling the Czech side to progress with first place ahead of the La Liga contenders.
Fenerbahce, Steaua Bucuresti, Dnipro, Napoli, Genk, Basel, Rubin Kazan, Inter Milan, Lyon, Sparta Prague, Metalist Kharkiv, and Levante are among others to have qualified for the Round of 32.
In a highly impressive feat for the German Bundesliga, four teams – Borussia Monchengladbach, Stuttgart, Bayer Leverkusen, and Hannover all sealed progress as well, with the latter topping Group L.
Eight third-place teams from the Champions League – namely Dynamo Kiev, Olympiakos, Zenit St. Petersburg, Chelsea, BATE Borisov, Benfica, Cluj, and Ajax will join the aforementioned clubs in the elimination phase of the Europa League.
Ajax also have the extra incentive of continuing progress as Amsterdam will host this season’s Europa League final on May 15, 2013.
For Liverpool and Tottenham, it is back to the grind of the Premier League on Sunday, with both teams swapping cities. The Reds will travel to London to square off against West Ham United while the Spurs head to Merseyside to face sixth place Everton.