Liverpool face another chunk of travel on the heels of a draining Premier league fixture, traveling 1500km to Maribor, in their second consecutive Champions League away game. In a period that is somewhat short on bright sides, at least there is this—Maribor cannot possibly employ tactics as mind-numbingly dull as Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United did at the weekend. Which is nice.
In fact, if they bring with them any of the positivity they’ve shown in their domestic league, the Reds might have their hands full keeping the Slovenians out. Having won eight and drawn four from their opening twelve league games, the vijoličasti sit in second place, only two points behind the league leaders. They average nearly two goals per game, and the blossoming strike partnership between Marcos Tavares and new signing Jasmin Mesanovic has proven a problem
The Champions League has been a different matter for the pride of Styria, and they sit bottom of Group E with a solitary point, earned in their last home game, where they drew with Spartak Moscow. However, the Reds are only a single point ahead of their upcoming opponents, and cannot boast much better luck against Russian opposition in this year’s competition, so Maribor should not be taken lightly.
Darko Milanič — most likely only familiar to English fans as the man who was hired and fired by Leeds United in the space of 32 days — sets his team up in a 4-2-3-1 and will hope a capacity crowd of 13.000 thousand or so at the Ljudski vrt can help push his side towards a positive result.
For Liverpool (4-3-3):
Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Sturridge, Solanke, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Project Karius continues, as confirmed by Jürgen Klopp on Monday, and one hopes the young German can add to his season tally of one save. Beyond that, no new injuries are reported, with Sadio Mané recovering from a hamstring injury, and Adam Lallana still a month or so away from first team action.
Spurs at Wembley are up next for Liverpool, but with five days between fixtures, there’s no reason to rotate players beyond those who are already lagging behind due to the rigours of the international break. Sparing the first choice front three against weaker opposition and allowing Daniel Sturridge, Dominic Solanke and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the opportunity to impress might be prudent by Klopp, but one would expect the Mohamed Salah, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino to at the very least be included in the squad as potential difference makers, should things go pear-shaped.
Elsewhere, while we’ve heard nothing new about Dejan Lovren’s health troubles, it seems likely that Ragnar Klavan gets another start and the Croatian gets a bit of recovery time. Alberto Moreno likely retains his spot, while the right-back position remains a toss-up between Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Kickoff is set for 7.45PM BST/ 2:45PM EST tomorrow on BT Sport Live in the UK and Fox Sports GO in the US. Elsewhere, SBS in Australia, beIN Sports in Canada, Sky Sport 1 in Germany, SONY TEN 1 in India, SuperSport 6 Africa in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, Astro SuperSport 3 in Malaysia and 111 mio Sports 1 in Singapore are carrying the match. You can find full listings at LivesoccerTV.
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