Liverpool’s second Europa League game of the season will no doubt give opportunities to fringe players and youth talents, but who is likely to start at Anfield against Union Saint-Gilloise?
The Reds have played nine games in all competitions so far this campaign, winning seven, drawing once and losing just once (in extremely controversial circumstances).
To put it lightly, Jurgen Klopp and the squad are in great form and are firmly on the path of righting the wrongs of last season.
While, naturally, much of the focus will be on the tough away trip to Brighton at the weekend, this mid-week Europa League clash will provide an excellent opportunity to get back to winning ways and make a statement after the disastrous events at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
READ MORE: Liverpool vs Union Saint-Gilloise – Match Preview
But who is likely to get the nod?
DEPTH IN DEFENCE
Caoimhin Kelleher will almost certainly start this fixture. He started in both of Liverpool’s cup games so far this season (against LASK and Leicester City), and he has more than proved his worth over the years as an extremely competent backup keeper worthy of regular game time.
At right-back, the Reds will once again have Trent Alexander-Arnold in their arsenal after the full-back played a 20-minute cameo appearance from the bench against Tottenham.
It is possible that the 24-year-old comes straight back into the starting XI on Thursday night now that he is fully fit, so that Joe Gomez can be given a rest.
The centre-back has been superb covering on the right-flank in Alexander-Arnold’s absence, but due to the number of games he’s played as of late, and his own troubled past with injuries, it seems the safe option to bench him against Union Saint-Gilloise.
Ibrahima Konate and Jarell Quansah could both start for Liverpool at centre-half. Joel Matip was preferred over Konate as Virgil van Dijk’s centre-back partner at the weekend, so it only makes sense for the Frenchman to play mid-week.
While Quansah has looked like an incredible talent every time he has been picked this season and the early stages of the Europa League acts as the perfect breeding ground for the youngster to develop further.
As for the left-back, it will likely be Kostas Tsimikas who gets the nod. The Greek international didn’t have the finest of games against LASK, but he remains a quality rotation option who will be preferred in the cups in order to keep Andy Robertson fresh.
With Jurgen Klopp admitting that Stefan Bajcetic suffered a setback in his cameo against Leicester City, Liverpool’s options at the base of midfield are limited once again.
Wataru Endo appears to be settling into life on Merseyside and could get another start here after an impressive Carabao Cup showing.
Ryan Gravenberch will no doubt be expecting another outing after a very solid start. The Dutchman has already registered a couple of assists and has looked like a monster in midfield.
While the third midfield slot is up for grabs, perhaps the most likely inclusion will be Curtis Jones.
The Scouser may have started against Tottenham, but only lasted 25 minutes before being sent off. Even though Liverpool plan to appeal the decision, Jones is currently ineligible to play against Brighton and the next two domestic fixtures.
Therefore, Klopp will very likely start the 22-year-old while he still can, in order to keep as many legs fresh for the weekend as possible.
Ben Doak, ProShots
Going into the season, the attacking department was by far the strongest asset with the most depth at Klopp’s disposal.
After Gakpo’s unfortunate injury against Tottenham, that has been somewhat depleted.
Ben Doak deserves to be given another chance on the right-wing. He had a relatively quiet game by his standards against LASK and was substituted early, but the electric winger is just 17 and has already proven tenfold just how much good he could become if given the right opportunities.
Darwin Nuñez may typically be preferred down the middle in Gakpo’s absence, especially having scored last time out against LASK. However, the worry over a ‘bone problem’ that prevented him from starting against Spurs may mean the Uruguayan is preserved for the trip to Brighton.
Diogo Jota then could start as the centre forward with Luis Diaz the only real option to play out on the left.
PREDICTED LIVERPOOL STARTING XI TO FACE UNION SAINT-GILLOISE
(4-3-3): Caoimhin Kelleher; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konate, Jarell Quansah, Kostas Tsimikas; Wataru Endo, Ryan Gravenberch, Curtis Jones; Ben Doak, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz.