Firmino starts, Milner axed: Liverpool strongest 4-2-3-1 v Dortmund

PREVIEW By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Roberto Firmino is likely to be recalled to the Liverpool team against Borussia Dortmund if he has fully recovered from the hamstring injury that has sidelined him for three weeks.

The Brazilian has been a key player for the Merseysiders since the turn of the year, with his haul of 11 Premier League goals and assists the best in the English top flight.

Jurgen Klopp claimed last Friday that Firmino was “close” to a return against Tottenham on Sunday and the manager could have a selection dilemma to make if the attacker is passed fit to face Dortmund in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final on Thursday night.

With Liverpool keen to get the crucial away goal in Germany that would set them up for the return leg at Anfield, Klopp could have a big decision to make about the composition of his front four.

Few would argue that Firmino, Daniel Sturridge, Coutinho and Adam Lallana are the four most creative players at the club, and the quartet dovetailed superbly in both legs of the last-16 triumph over Manchester United.

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However, James Milner offers greater defensive qualities than the fab four and is a regular starter under the German manager.

The dynamic Coutinho will be the first name on the teamsheet after a string of outstanding performances and Lallana has produced some fine displays in recent weeks for both club and country.

Red talisman: Coutinho has been in outstanding form in recent matches

Sturridge was below par against Spurs but he is the best finisher in Klopp’s squad and the most likely player to grab an away goal.

There are unlikely to be many changes in the Liverpool starting X1, with the manager rewarded with much-improved displays over the last month after sticking with a settled team.

Lucas Leiva has returned to training after a lengthy absence, but is unlikely to dislodge first-choice central midfield pair Jordan Henderson and Emre Can.

Liverpool (possible): Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno; Henderson, Can; Lallana, Firmino, Coutinho; Sturridge.

In other Liverpool news, the club has been rocked by two targets opting for Manchester City.