Liverpool host Danish side Midtjylland in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, where a win is expected of the 2019 champions in a highly competitive group D.
Jurgen Klopp’s side kicked off their European campaign last week with a win away to Ajax, but didn’t look entirely convincing as they only crept past the Dutch side in a 1-0 victory thanks to an own goal amid a few iffy results.
The Premier League holders will have to be on their game against the Danish champions, but will likely be much more settled now the first fixture is out of the way.
Atalanta got off to a winning start against Midtjylland last week meaning the Reds are tied on three points with the Italians, thus another win is key in ensuring that they set the pace.
A resilient performance in the Premier League against Sheffield United at the weekend has come at the right time, with Jurgen Klopp’s side showing they had the focus to dig deep and grind out a result.
When Is Kick Off? Tuesday 27 October
What Time Is Kick Off? 20:00 (GMT)
Where is it Played? Anfield
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport 3
Referee? Paweł Raczkowski
Liverpool have no fresh injury concerns to worry about heading into the tie, but will be without key figures once more.
Speaking to the official club website ahead of the game, Jurgen Klopp confirmed that Thiago, Naby Keita and Joel Matip are all still recovering from respective injuries and aren’t likely to feature. It means that Fabinho is likely to continue as a central defender once more with Virgil van Dijk out for the season.
Alisson’s return to the Liverpool starting XI at the weekend provides a huge boost, however. The Brazilian goalkeeper had been out with a shoulder injury and was expected to miss up to six weeks, but has recovered in much quicker fashion and is available once more.
For the visitors, key man Pione Sisto returned to Midtjylland on loan from Celta Vigo this summer and has scored three goals to date. He is expected to be in the lineup at Anfield and may be of some memory to English fans, having scored at Old Trafford in 2016 when his side faced Manchester United in the Europa League.
Goalkeeper Jesper Hansen is a doubt having been substituted late on due to injury at the weekend.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Fabinho, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Jones; Salah, Minamino, Jota.
Midtjylland: Andersen; Sviatchenko, Scholz, Paulinho; Onyeka, Cajuste; Dreyer, Sisto, Mabil; Kaba
After a Merseyside derby draw that felt like a loss having lost Van Dijk through injury – in case you hadn’t heard – Liverpool have bounced back well and managed to take six points from six in a tough week of football against Ajax and Sheffield United.
They went behind at the weekend and showed fight to get back into the contest before eventually winning the game through Diogo Jota, but will be ever so slightly concerned with the potential of leaking goals, in part thanks to injuries to a number of players.
Midtjylland were at it themselves at the weekend, too. They fought back from 2-0 down against Brondby to emerge 3-2 winners and keep themselves joint top of the Danish Superliga. Sisto bagged from the bench, while winger Anders Dreyer was also on the scoresheet.
Their return to Europe’s elite competition was a poor one, however, losing in a 4-0 humbling to Atalanta. Here’s how each side has fared in their last five games.
Liverpool 2-1 Sheffield United (24/10)
Ajax 0-1 Liverpool (21/10)
Everton 2-2 Liverpool (17/10)
Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool (4/10)
Liverpool 0 (4) – (5) 0 Arsenal (1/10)
Brondby 2-3 Midtjylland (24/10)
Midtjylland 0-4 Atalanta (21/10)
Midtjylland 3-1 Odense (17/10)
Horsens 2-2 Midtjylland (4/10)
Midtjylland 4-1 Slavia Praha (30/9)
Many will be expecting this to be a matter of how many Liverpool win by and not if they win, but approaching the game with such ignorance would see them punished.
Midtjylland proved against United a few years ago that they can challenge a big team when the opportunity is presented; before losing 5-1 at Old Trafford, they managed a 2-1 win at home in Denmark over the Red Devils.
Still, Klopp will expect nothing less than a statement victory from his side here and that’s what fans will get. Midtjylland will be no pushovers, but it has to be three points for Liverpool.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Midtjylland