MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - Wednesday, December 13, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a press conference at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 6 game between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp explains plan for Liverpool team selection vs. Union SG – “Really go for it”

Jurgen Klopp has sought to strike a balance between youth and experience for the final Europa League group game, with his lineup to be one who can “really go for it.”

Liverpool are safely through to the last 16 and this makes Thursday’s match a dead rubber for the Reds, allowing them to leave Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah out of the 23-man travelling squad.

The team is still littered with experience, including Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate, Dominik Szoboszlai, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez, but there is plenty of youth too.

That includes Conor Bradley, Calum Scanlon, Luke Chambers, James McConnell, Ben Doak, Lewis Koumas and Kaide Gordon, and Klopp has sought to strike a balance in Belgium.

“It’s really important you can find a group who can really fight in the game, who can really go for it. That’s the job to do,” Klopp told reporters on Wednesday.

“[A group] who is physically in the situation to do that, and from a determination point of view as well, I think we found that.

“I hope we can choose that lineup because you never know what happens overnight.

“So, the lineup in my mind and the one we used in training today would mean we have a good mix between a bit more experience and youth.

“We want to go for it, that’s it.”

The manager is no stranger to making wholesale changes in this competition, he has averaged nine across the first five group games in the competition and we expect to see the same, or more against Union SG.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 9, 2023: Liverpool's substitutes (L-R) Ben Doak, Conor Bradley and James McConnell before the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. Liverpool won 2-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jarell Quansah is one name that will almost certainly be retained from the weekend, while Wataru Endo could come under consideration after playing just 45 minutes at Crystal Palace.

Moreover, a start for 19-year-old McConnell would be his first for the senior team and with plenty of young players in the ranks, Klopp could well name the club’s youngest-ever starting XI in Europe.

The current record is held by the 1970 team who faced Dinamo Bucharest in the Fairs Cup, with the starting lineup averaging an age of 23 years and 148 days.