OPINION By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
With no weekend match and the Europa League representing Liverpool’s only realistic hope of clinching a Champions League place, Jurgen Klopp is likely to select his best available team against Augsburg on Thursday.
The Merseysiders have the rare luxury of a seven-day gap between the two legs of the last-32 clash, which allows Klopp to focus entirely on clearing the first hurdle of the knockout stage.
Lucas should return to the team for the away leg on Thursday if he has recovered from the injury that kept him out of the 6-0 annihilation of Aston Villa last weekend.
The Brazilian’s nous and experience for what will be a tricky away tie is valuable for a match that is likely to be far different to the cakewalk at Villa Park.
Klopp selected an attacking side for that match, with a central midfield three of Emre Can, Jordan Henderson and James Milner, supplemented by the club’s best three attackers, Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho.
It worked a treat, and the coaching staff will await how Daniel Sturridge’s body reacts to a second match in a five days before coming up with a game plan for Augsburg.
Divock Origi and Adam Lallana will come into contention for starts, but, if at all possible, Klopp should once again given the holy trinity of Sturridge, Coutinho and Firmino the opportunity to wreak havoc.
Liverpool 4-3-3 (strongest possible): Mignolet; Clyne, Caulker, Sakho, Moreno; Lucas, Can, Henderson; Firmino, Sturridge, Coutinho