After another international break, it's back to the business of two games a week and into the muck of the winter schedule as Liverpool host Bordeaux in their penultimate Europa League group stage game with Liverpool knowing they can progress into the knockout stages with a victory against the French side. They drew 1-1 in their last meeting, with Adam Lallana scoring Liverpool's goal and Jussie scoring Bordeaux's.
Since Jürgen Klopp has taken charge of the club, Liverpool have produced some fine away performances, but they've yet to really impress at home this season. The players have finally seemed to remember how to score again, though, knocking in eight goals in their last three league games -- after only managing nine in the first ten -- so there is reason to hope that we'll see a better home performance from them on Thursday.
Though Liverpool are second in Group B, they have had an underwhelming European campaign so far. They've won only one out of the four games played so far, their most recent match against Rubin Kazan, and drew the other three. They've also yet to score more than one goal in Europe this season. The players may still be riding the high of their fantastic victory against Manchester City, which saw the trio of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, and Emre Can, in particular, look inspiring as they comprehensively dismantled City's back line. With luck, the City win will serve as a kicking off point for what has so far been a disjointed season.
Coutinho has been ruled out of the game after suffering a hamstring strain on Saturday. Lucas Leiva, on the other hand, will miss this weekend's game against Swansea due to a suspension, and so he will likely be in Klopp's plans for Thursday against Bordeaux.
As for the French side, Wahbi Khazri is out due to suspension and will be therefore unavailable for selection. Bordeaux, who have been hit with their own string of injuries of late, are fighting for survival in this match. A loss would mean they're out of the competition, and even a goalless draw would see Liverpool progress at their expense should FC Sion beat Rubin Kazan in the earlier match. Expect them to come out fighting, because anything less would mean elimination.
Clyne/ Toure/ Lovren/ Moreno
Ibe/ Firmino/ Milner
With Lucas getting an enforced vacation at the weekend, look for him to start and for Klopp to play Joe Allen in place of Emre Can. It appears that Martin Skrtel has taken ill. I can only assume it was some kind of super virus that managed to penetrate his metal casing. Expect Toure to start and be enthusiastic and generally acceptable for about 25 minutes before tweaking his hamstring and getting pulled. Benteke should also slot back in as the forward. Daniel Sturridge will likely make the bench again and, unlike in the City game, he should get a run out in the second half this time. Lallana also may play in place of James Milner, but it seems more likely the vice-captain will start in order to give Lallana a rest.
Jordan Henderson isn't yet fully fit, making him both unlikely to play on Thursday and a question mark for the weekend. Young Jordan Rossiter, on the other hand, could be fit and available by Sunday. Danny Ings and Joe Gomez remain out for the season. Mamadou Sakho still has five weeks left on his recovery, while Jon Flanagan's expected return date continues to edge closer. It's now listed as four weeks out, instead of the perpetual eight weeks that it has been stuck on since January. Joao Teixeira remains frustratingly ineligible to play in the Europa League, along with cruise director Jose Enrique, who has recently begun full training with the first team in the absence of any other full backs in the squad.
Kickoff is in the late Europa League slot for this one, at 8:05PM BST/3:05PM EST, with radio coverage from LFCTV GO online for subscribers across the globe, BT Sport Europe in the UK, and Fox Sports 1 in the US. Elsewhere, it will also be showing on BeIN Sports Australia in Australia, BeIN SPORTS CONNECT in Canada, TEN Action in India, Supersport 3 Africa in Kenya, and Eurosport Asia in both Malaysia and Singapore. You can find other listings at LiveSoccerTV.
We'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join in with the matchday discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the game as it happens.