PREVIEW By Coral Barry
Jurgen Klopp is expected to restore his big hitters to the starting line-up for Liverpool’s Europa League last-16 showdown with Manchester United.
Liverpool meet United for the first time in the competition in the 195th competitive encounter between the two historic rivals.
Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho watched on from the bench during Sunday’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace, although Coutinho did play the final half-hour.
It is likely both will return in Thursday’s clash at Anfield as Liverpool look to inflict Louis Van Gaal’s first defeat against the Reds as United manager.
Divock Origi and Adam Lallana could make way for the Sturridge and Coutinho while Palace matchwinner Christian Benteke is likely to once again have to settle for a place on the bench.
The Belgian won and scored a 95th minute penalty at the weekend, but it is unlikely Klopp will trust the big striker on such a huge occasion with Sturridge refreshed following a two-match breather.
In defence, Nathaniel Clyne is expected to return after also being rested at the weekend, but the question remains who will be joining him on the opposite flank.
Alberto Moreno produced his best performance in some time against Palace, which could mean that Liverpool native Jon Flanagan drops to the bench after two consecutive starts.
Klopp could opt to stick with Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren in central defence, although Martin Skrtel is closing in on a return.
Lucas Leiva was added to Liverpool’s injury list last week, but apart from the long-serving midfielder and long-term absentees Danny Ings and Joe Gomez, Klopp has virtually a full squad to choose from.
Liverpool (possible): Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Sakho Moreno; Can, Henderson; Milner, Firmino, Coutinho; Sturridge.