We're finally getting into the meat of the season as mid-week fixtures begin to get added to the schedule. Liverpool begin their glorious road to Europa League victory on Thursday evening against FC Girondins de Bordeaux. Liverpool is in a serious downswing at the moment, after suffering embarrassing back-to-back losses to West Ham and Manchester United. They conceded six goals in those two games, while only managing to score three themselves the whole season. Things look dire at the moment for Brendan Rodgers and his men, so a promising performance in a tough European away fixture would be much appreciated by all.
Bordeaux sit 12th place in Ligue 1 at the moment after a shaky start to the season. Part of the problem may be that this is their first season playing in a brand new stadium. In addition to the fan support, much of the advantage of playing at home comes from familiarity with the pitch and all of its peculiarities. Having only played a limited number of games there, the team may not have the necessary understanding yet to get the full advantage from playing on their home turf. They managed to sneak into the group stages on away goals, after striker Enzo Crivelli found the back of the net in the 76th minute against the Kazakhstan Premier League team, Kairat Almaty.
News earlier in the week that snubbed center back Mamadou Sakho might start in the defense along with Alberto Moreno will give some Liverpool fans a bit of hope, as will the return of star playmaker Philippe Coutinho. Somehow, because of the manager's current set up, we may end up playing our best defense in Europe instead of in the league, where Dejan Lovren and the inexperienced Joe Gomez are still preferred. Christian Benteke, James Milner, Lucas Leiva, and Nathaniel Clyne are also reportedly being kept out of the squad, meaning it will be a largely changed eleven.
As for Bordeaux, their star player is midfielder Wahib Khazri, who has scored three goals in four league games for the French side. Most recently, he nabbed the equalizer in their draw against top of the league PSG. Bordeaux have several injury concerns, including Lamine Sane, Gergory Sertic, Cheick Diabate, Thomas Toure, and Jaroslav Plasi. Diego Rolan has recently returned from injury and may get to play for the first time this season.
Expected Liverpool Line-up:
Gomez, Toure, Sakho, Moreno
Ibe, Coutinho, Ings
After a doomed run out against Manchester United at the weekend, Divock Origi will get a real chance to show his abilities in the starting XI on Thursday. With Clyne not expected to start, we will either see Joe Gomez shifted to right back or a midfielder or forward forced to play out of position. Meanwhile, with Milner and Lucas reportedly certain to be rested, Jordan Rossiter is likely to be given his European debut, while Adam Lallana is expected to make the bench after a month out injured. Jordan Henderson has flown to the United States to get a specialist treatment for his heel problem, Daniel Sturridge is still not quite fit, and Jon Flanagan and Joe Allen remain on the long-term injury list.
Kickoff is set for 6:00PM BST/1:00PM EST, with coverage from LFCTV Go, BT Sport Europe in the UK, and Fox Sports 1 in the US. 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 the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on all the action as it happens.