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Rubin Kazan vs. Liverpool: Match Preview, Team News, and Ways to Watch

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Liverpool begin the second half of group play on Thursday when they travel to Russia to take on Rubin Kazan.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Liverpool begin the back half of group stage play with a tentative hold on second place in Group B, having earned three points and a goal difference of zero after drawing three consecutive games 1-1. Liverpool fans will be expecting more following their back-to-back victories against Bournemouth and Chelsea this past week. A win on Thursday would mean Klopp has picked up victories in all three competitions in which the club is playing over the span of just eight days. It would also see them extend their unbeaten run to twelve games in all competitions.

The two sides came up even when they played the first leg at Anfield. Now Liverpool face the more daunting task of playing at the new Kazan stadium in front of fans who have yet to see their team lose at home in Europe this season. Thursday night games on a cold, rainy night in the middle of Russia are pretty much the definition of why people dislike the Europa League, and Liverpool will need to field a team strong enough to get a result but also rest key players in preparation for Sunday's clash against Crystal Palace. No English team has ever left Kazan with so much as a point in a UEFA game, so Liverpool face a difficult challenge on Thursday -- all the more reason for them to rue their draw against Kazan at home two weeks ago.

Rubin Kazan trail Liverpool in Group B by only one point and one goal in a very competitive group. A win for either team would see them pull ahead, though neither will be able to catch group leaders FC Sion, who sit atop the table with seven points. The home team will also be without the services of Oleg Kuzmin, who will be serving out his suspension due to his red card in the last match at Anfield.

Liverpool lost Kolo Toure to an injury against Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup and remain without the services of Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Rossiter, and Jordan Henderson. Jon Flangan, Joe Gomez, and Danny Ings are long-term injury absences.

For Liverpool:

Mignolet
Randall/ Škrtel/ Lovren/ Moreno
Brannagan/ Lucas
Ibe/ Firmino/ Lallana
Origi

Even if Liverpool go with a strong squad as expected it could be time for Connor Randall to slot in for an overworked Nathaniel Clyne. Christian Benteke is unlikely to start -- though both he and Philippe Coutinho did travel and will at least make the bench -- meaning Divock Origi should be back in the starting line up for this match. There are also likely to be a few other changes, but one of those won't be Joao Carlos Teixeira, who is not registered and therefore ineligible to play in the Europa League.

After the confidence boost of an excellent win at Stamford Bridge, the team should be well up for this match. Win again, and there will be a real sense of momentum in the air, of Liverpool beginning to build something apart from more disappointing draws. Anything better than a loss, though, will at least keep Liverpool in the thick of the race to advance to the knockout rounds of the competition.

Kickoff is early for this one: 6:00PM BST/1:00PM EST on Thursday, with 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, TSN1 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.