For the first time in the campaign, Liverpool sit alone atop their Champions League group, and with punching bags NK Maribor — on the receiving end of an historic beating when the two sides met just a fortnight ago — coming to town, the expectation is that they will remain there for at least another round.
It is tomorrow’s guests who have had the superior run since the drubbing on October 17th, however, winning both their fixtures in the league in the interim, closing in on league leaders Olimpija in the process. Jasmin Mesanovic, a late substitute against the Reds last time out, has been the match winner twice in a row, and their top scorer looks likely to start at Anfield on Wednesday.
With one point and a 1-11 goal difference after three rounds, Maribor’s hopes of qualifying from the group will be over with another loss, but the hunt for Europa League success might continue, and the Reds can’t expect their visitors to roll over without a fight. One would also expect the Vijoličasti to have learned from their mistakes in the first matchup, and a more disciplined and less adventurous look from Darko Milanič seems probable.
For Liverpool (4-3-3):
Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Matip, Moreno; Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wijnaldum; Firmino, Sturridge, Salah
Loris Karius is your Champions League goalkeeper for the 2017/18 season, and the sooner you accept that, the easier it’ll be on all of us. After conceding the first three shots on target of the campaign, the German stopper has made three saves in a row, and might just sneak into a positive save percentage in the upcoming fixture.
Dejan Lovren is out with a thigh injury, which could entail a start centrally for Joe Gomez, with Trent Alexander-Arnold stepping in at right-back. Emre Can is likely to return to the XI after spending most of Saturday on the bench, while Philippe Coutinho’s back problem means Daniel Sturridge — fresh off his first goal in two months — returns to the starting line-up. Jordan Henderson was rested last time the two sides met, and another bout on the bench for the captain could mean a start in midfield for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
A trip to struggling West Ham is up next, less than 72 hours after the whistle goes at Anfield, and in an ideal world, Jürgen Klopp could afford to rest some of his starters, but with Sadio Mané and Adam Lallana out for a few more weeks, options are limited. Should things go well early, however, it wouldn’t be surprising to see appearances for Ben Woodburn, Marko Grujić and Andrew Robertson.
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, beIN Sports 2 in Australia, beIN Sports in Canada, Sky Sport 1 in Germany, SONY TEN 3 in India, SuperSport 6 Africa in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, Astro SuperSport 3 in Malaysia and Supersports CH 202 in Singapore are carrying the match. You can find full 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 the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on all the action as it happens.