Liverpool may name brand new XI vs USG which would be bad news for Man Utd

Jurgen Klopp will rotate when Liverpool take on Union Saint-Gilloise in their final Europa League group stage match on Thursday night. The Reds are already guaranteed of top spot in Group E and a spot in the last 16 and are expected to rest players in the dead rubber in Belgium.

The Premier League leaders could even name a starting eleven that has never been seen before. Klopp is without six injured players – Joel Matip, Alexis Mac Allister, Diogo Jota, Thiago Alcantara, Stefan Bajcetic and Andy Robertson.

Caoimhin Kelleher will return in goal, replacing Alisson. The Irishman has kept just one clean sheet in his four Europa League appearances so far and missed the Anfield contest against USG which Liverpool won 2-0.

Conor Bradley, himself back to full fitness, impressed in pre-season and should start at right-back. Luke Chambers – who started the home victory over Toulouse and the Carabao Cup win over Leicester – is likely to start at left-back.

Despite Matip’s long-term injury, Klopp does not have many other centre-halves to pick from. Joe Gomez is therefore the likely captain in Brussels and Jarell Quansah should partner him. In midfield, Alexis Mac Allister faces a spell on the sidelines with a knee problem so Wataru Endo could make his sixth successive start in this competition.

Harvey Elliott scored the winning goal at Palace and his reward will be a start here. Dominik Szoboszlai should be rested and with Mac Allister, Thiago and Bajcetic injured, Curtis Jones and Ryan Gravenberch are the experienced options to be the third man in the middle.

But to avoid the pair needing to play 45 minutes or more ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Manchester United, James McConnell could be handed a first senior start. McConnell has already had minutes this season at home to Toulouse and Brentford, and was an unused substitute at Palace.

With Bobby Clark injured, Melkamu Frauendorf is the other player from Liverpool’s UEFA B List who could be involved in some capacity. Up front, Darwin Nunez is in need of goals but is likely to lead the line next to Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah against United. As such, Cody Gakpo could be the No 9 here with Ben Doak and Kaide Gordon out wide.

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The average age of such a starting line-up (Kelleher; Bradley, Gomez, Quansah, Chambers; Endo, Elliott, McConnell; Doak, Gakpo, Gordon) would be just 21.5 years old. But it would allow most of those expected to face United to be well rested.

And that would be a worry for a struggling United team who were in exhaustive action against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday night and whose aggregate score across their four previous trips to Anfield is a grim 16-1.

Predicted Liverpool XI vs USG: Kelleher; Bradley, Gomez, Quansah, Chambers; Endo, Elliott, McConnell; Doak, Gakpo, Gordon

Potential bench: Pitaluga, Alexander-Arnold, Tsimikas, Van Dijk, Konate, Jones, Gravenberch, Frauendorf, Koumas, Nunez, Diaz, Salah

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