Next Up: Lille (h)

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Football - Lille v Liverpool UEFA Europa League Third Round First Leg

Liverpool go into Thursday’s encounter with Lille 1-0 down from the first leg in France a week ago, but off the back of a resounding 4-1 victory over Portsmouth.

For the first time in months, the Reds impressed with their attacking flair on Monday night against the Premier League‘s bottom club, seemingly finding some lost confidence.

Rafa Benitez will be without Maxi Rodriguez, who is ineligible to play in Europe for the Reds, but signs of Glen Johnson reaching full fitness after 8 weeks on the sidelines were positive at Anfield on Monday.

Midfielder Alberto Aquilani scored his first goal for the club and impressed against Portsmouth but he missed training on Wednesday with a cold and may not be fit to face the French side. His place is likely to go to Lucas Leiva.

Javier Mascherano limped to the finish line in the final stages of the Portsmouth match but is fit to play.

Liverpool must overturn their 1-0 deficit, caused by Eden Hazard’s 85th minute strike in the first leg. A 2-0 win will do the trick, but should the Reds concede they’ll have to score three to go through.

Goals haven’t exactly been flowing in Europe for Benitez’s side this season; 9 goals in 9 games – 4 of which were against minnows Unirea.

A place in the last eight of the Europa League awaits the winner.

Predicted XI: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Mascherano, Lucas, Kuyt, Gerrard, Babel, Torres

The game gets underway at 8.05pm and it’s live on five in the UK.