SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

10 photos as Liverpool prepare for Union SG trip – but who makes final cut?

Jurgen Klopp oversaw a 27-man squad on the eve of Liverpool’s final Europa League group game, though the expectation is that not all will travel to Belgium.

The Reds have earned the right to approach the match at Union SG as they please, having already secured their place in the competition’s last 16.

With the visit of Man United coming on Sunday, ahead of a relentless run of games, there is no need for Liverpool’s regular senior players to be risked for the dead rubber.

But plenty were involved in training at the AXA Training Centre on Wednesday afternoon, alongside a host of youngsters – all of whom will have enjoyed some rare winter sun!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 13, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

Alexis Mac Allister (knee), Diogo Jota (hamstring), Andy Robertson (shoulder), Thiago (hip), Stefan Bajcetic (calf) and Joel Matip (knee) all remained absent.

Elsewhere, there were no surprise absentees as the likes of Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dominik Szoboszlai, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez all trained as normal.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 13, 2023: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 13, 2023: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 13, 2023: Liverpool's Jarell Quansah during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

None will be needed against Union SG on Thursday night, and the hope is Klopp will turn to a number of youngsters for the fixture.

He was not short of them in training with Ben Doak, Kaide Gordon and Lewis Koumas all involved and hoping to feature up front, while Conor Bradley, Luke Chambers and Calum Scanlon will be eyeing more minutes.

Midfielders James McConnell and Tom Hill also took part in the session, but it is the former who is the likeliest to start in Belgium, with Wataru Endo and Harvey Elliott to sit alongside.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 13, 2023: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 13, 2023: Liverpool's Wataru End? during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

The Japan international was all smiles and ought to be fresh after playing just 45 minutes at Crystal Palace, though Mac Allister’s injury may dictate how long he plays for.

The No. 10 is in doubt for United’s visit on Sunday, though we should hear more on that when Klopp speaks to the media in Belgium on Wednesday evening (6.30pm UK).

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 13, 2023: Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 13, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

Kostas Tsimikas and Salah took part in the warm up together, but neither will be expected to see minutes, and in an ideal world the No. 11 would not board the plane and instead enjoy a well-deserved night off.

He might not see it that way, but with five games in 12 days this is the time to think about the bigger picture.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 13, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

Nunez and Gakpo looked nice and care free, the sunshine will have helped, no doubt!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 13, 2023: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez (L) and Cody Gakpo during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

Klopp’s plans will start to become more clear once the travelling squad is confirmed, and all eyes will be on who is rested entirely and which youngsters may get a chance.