LONDON — While Premier League sides struggle in the Champions League, the Europa League offers Liverpool and Tottenham the chance to restore some credibility for English teams competing in Europe.
Tottenham heads south to visit Monaco in search of a second straight win in Group J, while Liverpool hosts Group B leader Sion, seeking its first victory after drawing 1-1 at Bordeaux.
Spurs has found its stride and won four of five games across all competitions in September, including a 4-1 win over Manchester City on Saturday to topple them from the top of the Premier League standings.
Liverpool, however, is struggling with two wins in five games this month, a poor run that has increased pressure on manager Brendan Rodgers.
Liverpool midfielder James Milner called for calm and backs Rodgers before the match against Sion at Anfield.
"A lot of things that have been said are disappointing and frustrating really because you see how close they went to winning the league a couple of years ago and then with the players that have left the club it is going to take time to get back to that point," Milner said. "But with patience he has shown he is a top-class manager and with the players we have we can get to where we want to be."
English woes in the Champions League only worsened on Tuesday when Jose Mourinho's Chelsea lost 2-1 at FC Porto, the team where the Portuguese manager made his mark by winning Europe's most coveted title in 2004.
London-rival Arsenal fared even worse, falling 3-2 at home to Olympiakos, for a second straight loss that left it bottom of its qualifying group.
Manchester clubs United and City both play on Wednesday night looking to bounce back from losses in their Champions League openers.
That means in six combined Champions League matches English teams have managed one sole win, a 4-0 rout Chelsea dealt minnow Maccabi Tel-Aviv on matchday one.
Here are some more things to know about Thursday's Europa League matches:
'CLUB 50' BECKONING FOR HUNTELAAR
Schalke striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar was rested last weekend and will be itching to score against visiting Greek side Asteras Tripoli in Group K.
The Dutch forward needs two more goals to take his tally in UEFA competition to 50, matching the likes of Alfredo Di Stefano and Didier Drogba and joining a group of only 13 players who have achieved the feat.
Schalke opened its Europa League campaign with an impressive 3-0 win at APOEL but the club's last two European games at home ended in defeat to Chelsea and Real Madrid.
Andre Breitenreiter's side is currently on a five-game winning streak across all competitions.
Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa returns home to Portugal to face Belenenses with the Tuscan squad surprisingly leading Serie A.
Often called "piccolo Mou," the young Mou, in deference to Jose Mourinho, Sousa was an unpopular choice when he was hired to replace Vincenzo Montella in June — although that was mostly due to his past a player for hated rival Juventus.
Sousa's best move was signing little known Nikola Kalinic from Ukrainian club Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk for 5.5 million euros ($6 million), a move that paid off when the Croatia striker scored a hat trick in Sunday's 4-1 over previously perfect Inter Milan.
Kalinic also scored in Fiorentina's opening Europa League match in Group I but Basel — Sousa's former club — battled back for a 2-1 win.
The more established Giuseppe Rossi is expected to lead Fiorentina's attack against Belenenses as he regains his form from the latest in a series of knee injuries.