By Coral Barry
Brad Smith could be called into action for Liverpool’s European mega-clash with Manchester United after Alberto Moreno pulled up injured in training on Wednesday.
Smith, 21, has not featured under Jurgen Klopp since Liverpool were dumped out of the FA Cup by West Ham in early February.
But Moreno complained of a tight hamstring in Liverpool’s final training session at Old Trafford on Wednesday night ahead of Thursday evening’s Europa League showdown.
Moreno, who had been tasked by Jurgen Klopp with whipping crosses into the penalty box, played no further part in the exercise and was later seen deep in discussions with head physio Chris Morgan.
Moreno will be assessed by medical staff on Thursday morning before a decision is made on whether he plays a part in the last-16 tie.
His likely replacement is Smith, who impressed in a series of appearances in the cup competitions at the turn of the year.
Jon Flanagan would likely have been Klopp’s first choice to replace Moreno, but the full-back is not in Liverpool’s Europa League squad after only recently returning from a long-term injury.
Other alternative options would be to move Nathaniel Clyne to the opposite flank and slot either Dejan Lovren or James Milner at right-back.
Smith played in Liverpool’s group game against FC Sion in December, but a start against the Merseysiders’ fiercest rivals would be the biggest moment of his career by some distance.
Liverpool head to Manchester with a two goal advantage from the first leg and looking to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
In other Liverpool team news, a key player is set to return to the starting eleven for the United clash.