SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's Jarell Quansah (L) is challenged by Union SG's Gustaf Nilsson during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool expected to rotate heavily vs. Belgian table-toppers – 6 youngsters in?

Liverpool are likely to make a number of changes for their clash with Union SG on Thursday, which pits them against the in-form Belgian Pro League leaders.

The Reds head into their next game with little riding on it bar their own momentum, having already secured top spot in their Europa League group.

Progress to the last 16, avoiding a playoff against a Champions League club, is already guaranteed, making the trip to Union SG a dead-rubber.

With the visit of Man United to come three days later, during a busy run of fixtures during the festive period, it stands to reason that Jurgen Klopp will rotate heavily.

That should see as many as six youngsters come into realistic contention to start, including another for Jarell Quansah.

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)

Conor Bradley and Luke Chambers could both join him in defence, while there is a chance James McConnell makes his full debut at the base of the midfield with Alexis Mac Allister injured.

Ben Doak is almost certain to start, but there may also be plans for Kaide Gordon to pick up minutes in a low-stakes tie.

All six of those players are already registered for the Europa League, five through List B, which also includes a number of other youngsters.

While Marcelo Pitaluga and Fabian Mrozek are both eligible to start in goal, the likelihood is that Caoimhin Kelleher takes over again.

Similarly, Calum Scanlon, Melkamu Frauendorf and Lewis Koumas are all able to be named in the squad having been registered with UEFA.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp will, of course, be eager to win the game regardless, which means that there could still be a surprise when his teamsheet is released.

Joe Gomez, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Cody Gakpo could be among the senior players involved to ensure no rhythm is lost.

Either way, it could prove to be a tough test in Belgium, with Union SG stretching their lead at the top of the Belgian top flight on Sunday with a 3-1 win over Charleroi.

Mohamed Amoura scored twice either side of a Casper Terho strike, with manager Alexander Blessin making three changes from the 2-1 win over Cerle Brugge a week previous.

Union SG have only lost four times this season – including 2-0 to Liverpool at Anfield – and have won 13 of their last 17 games.

Sunday’s victory extended their current winning run to three, and six unbeaten, with victory imperative on Thursday night if they hope to overtake Toulouse for a spot in the playoffs.


Union SG vs. Charleroi (3-5-2): Moris; Sykes, Burgess, Machida; Terho (Lapoussin 74′), Amani (Sadiki 74′), Vanhoutte, Puertas (Rasmussen 67′), Castro-Montes; Nilsson (Rodriguez 66′), Amoura (Eckert 76′)

Subs not used: Imbrechts, Mac Allister