After a 0-0 draw with Tottenham in his debut, new Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will be making his Anfield debut against Rubin Kazan in the Europa League. It will be interesting to see how strong of a squad Klopp fields on Thursday since the team has a match against a very capable Southampton team on Sunday.
The injuries that the team has suffered in recent weeks certainly doesn’t help as many players, including Jordan Henderson, Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino are still out injured while both Danny Ings and Joe Gomez are now out for the entire season.
Simon Mignolet made some fantastic saves in the Tottenham match and he should be able to bring that momentum in this match. However, given Rubin Kazan’s inability to score goals, they have 11 in 12 matches, should make it an easy match for the big Belgian.
The only other player who could replace Nathaniel Clyne in the lineup is the young Connor Randall but it is unlikely that Klopp will go with such a young player this early. With that being said, this match will hopefully be won early on by the Reds and Clyne will be able to ease his intensity.
Given Martin Skrtel’s less than ideal performance against Tottenham, Kolo Toure should get the stat beside Mamadou Sakho. The Ivorian defender has only played a few matches so far this season but his experience will be a major advantage for him against Rubin Kazan.
On the left side of the defense, Sakho has been on excellent form for the past few matches and Klopp may start him just to ensure that the opposing strikers will not have any scoring chances.
Just like Clyne, Alberto Moreno has no backup, especially with Joe Gomez’s unfortunate injury that will keep the youngster out for the rest of the season. Moreno’s form has been up and down this season but the new pressing-focused style that Klopp has brought in should really help the Spanish defender.
Lucas Leiva is an important player in the Liverpool squad so it would make sense if Klopp rested him to make sure that he is fully healthy and start Joe Allen alongside Emre Can instead.
Allen is not as great a defensive player as Lucas but that shouldn’t matter against a Rubin Kazan team that won’t have a lot of possession. If Liverpool dominate possession, expect to see Can bursting forward from the middle of the pitch to inject some clever passing into the Reds’ attack.
Similar to Lucas, Philippe Coutinho may be on the bench on Thursday while James Milner, Adam Lallana and Jordon Ibe get the start. The three should have enough creativity among them to create scoring opportunities against the Russian Premier League team that has allowed 18 goals in 12 matches.
This match will be especially important for Ibe in that it will essentially be an audition for him to get more playing time for the rest of the season.
With all the injuries among the team’s strikers and Daniel Sturridge’s questionable health, Divock Origi may get another start on Thursday. While the young striker has not been at his best during his short time at the club, he will hopefully be able to take advantage of a weak Rubin Kazan defense.
Origi’s size makes him a threat from set pieces and he came close to scoring with his head against Tottenham.
Via – Lineup Builder