Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp makes his return to Germany as his side face Augsburg in the Europa League Round of 32, live on BT Sport.
Jürgen Klopp’s men head into the European clash in Germany looking to build on their impressive 6-0 win against Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
Liverpool have been very inconsistent this season, but with striker Daniel Sturridge back available for selection following his latest spell on the sidelines, Liverpool will be full of confidence heading into Thursday’s game against German side FC Augsburg.
Augsburg are having a poor Bundesliga campaign as they lost 3-1 at home against league leaders FC Bayern Munich this weekend, and only six points above the relegation zone.
FC Augsburg have qualified for the knockout stage in what is their first ever European campaign.
Liverpool have been eliminated at the last 32 stage in each of their last two Europa League seasons, losing to Zenit St Petersburg in 2012-13 and Besiktas on penalties last year (2014-15).
Liverpool topped group B being unbeaten (W2 D4). Only Napoli, Lazio and Schalke have managed to do so.
Liverpool have won only once away against German sides in European competition (D6 L5), though this was their last trip in March 2005, where they beat Bayer Leverkusen in the last 16 of the Champions League before lifting the trophy that year.
Liverpool fear that young midfielder Kevin Stewart is facing an extended spell on the sidelines with ankle ligament damage.
Stewart won’t travel to Germany with Jurgen Klopp’s squad on Wednesday ahead of the Europa League clash with Augsburg.
Adam Lallana will also miss the game due to an ongoing calf problem, but Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva is available after overcoming his minor hamstring problem that ruled him out of the trip to Aston Villa on Sunday.
Daniel Sturridge is expected to feature after coming through his first Premier League start since October. He scored his third goal of the season on Sunday against Villa, and is set to lead the line on Thursday evening.
Origi and Coutinho also available for the trip to Augsburg.
I think Liverpool will be too strong for Augsburg on Thursday. Liverpool have their two best players back on the pitch in Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho.
Just look at the first goal on Sunday against Aston Villa. Coutinho cross, Sturridge scored. First chance Liverpool had during the game, first goal. They make the difference. They are both top, top players, and they’ll make the difference on Thursday night. They give Liverpool a fear factor.
You could say that Klopp’s knowledge of Augsburg is an advantage to Liverpool, but they know all about him and his style of play too.
Jürgen Klopp won five of his eight Bundesliga games against Augsburg, drawing two and losing one. This defeat came in his last meeting against them in February 2015. Raul Bobadilla scored the only goal that day.
Liverpool only won two of their six group games in their Europa League group, Klopp has a talented squad, but very inconsistent.
However, I think the Reds will win the game on Thursday night. Augsburg are not in good form, and with Liverpool full of confidence after Sunday’s ruthless performance, they’ll be fancying their chances, especially with Coutinho and Sturride in the side.
I don’t think Klopp will make any changes to the side that beat Villa on Sunday. I’m predicting an unchanged team.
Mignolet, Clyne, Toure, Sakho, Moreno, Emre Can, Henderson, Milner, Coutinho, Firmino, Sturridge.
Fancy a bet? Philippe Coutinho to score and Liverpool to win @ 5/1 with Paddy Power. Great offer.
Preview written by @dug_8.