Liverpool return to European action on Thursday when the Europa League begins the knockout stages. The Reds are set to travel to Germany to take on Bundesliga side FC Augsburg. The group stages concluded way back in the beginning of December, which was like 4 Liverpool crises ago. Most recently, after getting booted from the FA Cup, Liverpool got a much-needed boost with a rousing 6-0 win against Premier League bottom-dwellers Aston Villa. They also got a much-needed boost with the attacking trio of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, and Divock Origi returning from injury.
FC Augsburg were the runners-up in Group L to earn their place in the knockout stages. Since returning from the winter break at the end of last month, they have yet to notch a victory, with two draws and two defeats in league play. Most recently, they fell to mighty Bayern Munich while Liverpool was enacting their own St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Birmingham. They're currently languishing in 14th in the Bundesliga with 21 points from 21 games.
Liverpool have gone out in the Round of 32 in their last two Europa League campaigns. In 2015, they went out on penalties to Besiktas. Before that, they fell to Zenit St Petersburg in 2013. Making it to the Round of 16 would, in fact, be Liverpool's best showing in Europe since the 2010-2011 season when they reached the Round of 16. By contrast, FC Augsburg are in the midst of their first European campaign ever after ending last season 5th in the German league.
Liverpool made three squad changes from the autumn, including adding Joao Carlos Teixeira to the Europa League squad, righting what some fans considered to be one of Brendan Rodgers' biggest wrongs. Another new player who could take part on Thursday is on-loan defender Steven Caulker. Klopp also chose to register Danny Ward instead of out-of-favor backup goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.
FC Augsburg have been dealt several injury blows recently, and will be without Daniel Baier, Raphael Framberger, Marco Schuster, and Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker. During their last match against Bayern, Jan Moravek went off injured and is doubtful for Thursday.
Randall/ Toure/ Sakho/ Moreno
Lucas/ Henderson/ Can
Joe Allen, Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel, and Jordan Rossiter are all hamstringy at the moment and won't feature. Adam Lallana is out with a calf injury as well and is a doubt. Kevin Stewart, who had been doing quite well with the first team, suffered an injury in training that may sideline him for some time. It's horrible timing for the 22-year-old midfielder, especially ahead of a fixture where he could have seen some minutes. And finally, Joe Gomez and Danny Ings continue to be out for the season. Jon Flanagan was not registered for the Europa League.
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 2 in the US. Elsewhere, it will also be showing on BeIN Sports Australia in Australia, BeIN SPORTS in Canada, TEN Action in India, Supersport 3 Africa in Kenya, and Astro Supersport 2 in Malaysia. 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.