Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will give a clear indication of how seriously he’s taking the Europa League this season when his side face Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday night.
The Reds came unstuck against Udinese at Anfield in their last outing in the competition, and are on the back-foot in the race to progress from Group A ahead of the visit of the big-spending Russians.
Rodgers will almost certainly stick to his rotation policy for the competition, and is unlikely to risk Pepe Reina between the sticks ahead of this weekend’s Merseyside derby against Everton.
That means Brad Jones will expect to start, with Jamie Carragher and Sebastian Coates likely to continue their central defensive partnership in-front of the Australian. The pair will need to be on top form against Cameroonian hitman Samuel Eto’o.
Jose Enrique’s return to fitness means Glen Johnson will sit on the sidelines, with youngster Andre Wisdom set to continue at right back in the competition.
With Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and midfield dynamo Joe Allen set to be rested once again, a starting three of Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey and Nuri Sahin would be no surprise.
Light of options up-front following the injury to Fabio Borini, Rodgers will be eager to avoid playing Uruguayan international Luis Suarez from the start, which means Samed Yesil can expect to lead the line from the start. Stewart Downing and Oussama Assaidi will flank the forward.
Liverpool predicted line-up v Anzhi Makhachkala:
Brad Jones; Andre Wisdom, Jamie Carragher, Sebastian Coates, Jose Enrique; Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey, Nuri Sahin; Stewart Downing, Samed Yasil, Oussama Assaidi.