Brendan Rodgers needs to be clever with rotating his squad this week, and we select five Liverpool players who should start against FC Sion.
The Reds welcome the Swiss outfit to Anfield in the Europa League on Thursday evening, but Rodgers simply must keep one eye on Sunday’s vital Merseyside derby against Everton at Goodison Park.
Key players need to be rested ahead of the showdown with the Toffees, with Roberto Martinez’s side arguably favourites going into the game.
Thursday’s game is clearly important in its own right, but it represents a great chance for Rodgers to blood some youngsters and give some fringe players some much-needed playing time.
Here are five players we believe must start.
Following a highly impressive, and incredibly surprising, start to his Liverpool career, in which he was first-choice left-back at the start of the campaign, Joe Gomez has lost his place in the team to Alberto Moreno.
The change to a 3-4-2-1 formation is as much to do with this as anything, but there was always a feeling that Gomez’s form would drop off a little given his huge lack of experience.
The needless penalty he gave away at Man United earlier this month was proof of that, and for now it makes sense for him to start in Europe and domestic cup competitions only.
Should Rodgers stick with three at the back, he could play the 18-year-old in his preferred centre-back role, rather than a wing-back position that wouldn’t suit him. Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtel will surely be rested.
Gomez has an enormous future ahead of him, but for now, more low-key nights like Thursday are perfect in terms of the ex-Charlton man’s development.
Perhaps one of the more bemusing aspects of this season has been the under-use of Jordan Rossiter, who is really coming of age as a footballer.
The 18-year-old was terrific against Bordeaux in the Reds’ Europa League opener- arguably Man of the Match on the night- and his impressive cameo away to Arsenal showed he is not daunted by big occasions.
It seems that Rossiter is going to be limited to starting less significant games for now, but Thursday should be a perfect platform for him to show Rodgers that he is ready for a more pivotal role in the squad.
The Ulsterman has not been afraid to throw youngsters in at the deep end before, as shown with Raheem Sterling and Jon Flanagan, and a good display against Sion could persuade the manager to start him in the derby.
He would certainly give Liverpool some of the English bite that can be priceless in games of such ferocity.
Expectations of Jordon Ibe were so high going into 2015/16, but the Englishman has definitely been one of the Reds’ most disappointing players since August.
The 19-year-old is still understandably raw, and the lazy comparisons to Sterling have seemingly had a negative impact on him.
It is difficult to see Ibe featuring too much in the Premier League right now, barring substitute roles, but European games are a great chance for him to shine.
Confidence is a massive thing for any footballer, and it is something that Ibe is clearly lacking. A good run-out against relatively weak opposition could help boost his self-esteem greatly.
He could potentially fill the left wing-back role, giving Alberto Moreno a rest after he started the last four games.
Very few players split opinion at Anfield quite like Adam Lallana.
Some feel he should be a regular, while others see him as a frustrating, inconsistent presence in the side when he plays. He is somewhere in between, if we’re being honest.
The 27-year-old’s brilliant solo effort against Bordeaux outlined his class, but his luke-warm overall performance that night showed why Rodgers isn’t trusting him in more important games.
In many ways, Lallana’s creative, silky, but ultimately lightweight style is more tailor-made for Europe, and he is a certainty to start on Thursday.
It seems unlikely that he will begin proceedings against Everton on Sunday lunchtime, but he will be desperate to show Rodgers his worth against Sion.
With Christian Benteke injured, and Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings definites to play against Everton, Divock Origi must be a given to lead the line on Thursday.
The young Belgian has not been impressive so far this season when he has featured, with a lack of touch and awareness alarmingly evident.
He is a big talent with undoubted potential, however, and starting European matches will prove to be invaluable over time. Like Gomez and Ibe, and Rossiter for that matter, he is still very much a work in progress.
You feel that Origi just needs a goal in order to raise his confidence levels, and with all due respect to Sion, Thursday is a great opportunity to do just that.