Union SG, participating in the Europa League for only the second time, faces a challenging situation after a goalless draw with Toulouse in the previous match. Currently sitting third in Group E, they need to pull off a major upset against Liverpool and hope that Toulouse loses to LASK Linz to progress to the knockout rounds.
If Union SG finishes third, they'll move on to the Europa Conference League playoffs, but a potential fourth-place finish would mean elimination from European competition. Despite the challenging circumstances, Union SG has shown good form in domestic games, winning their last three matches, including a 3-1 victory against Charleroi.
Union SG aims to secure back-to-back Europa League home victories, having beaten LASK Linz 2-1 in October. However, facing Liverpool presents a tough challenge, especially since they've lost their last three encounters with English teams, including a 2-0 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield in September.
Liverpool, despite a 3-2 loss to Toulouse on matchday four, has already qualified for the last 16. They secured their spot with a convincing 4-0 home win over LASK Linz on matchday five. Liverpool's recent form has been impressive, with four consecutive wins, including a 2-1 victory against Crystal Palace with a 91st-minute winner from Harvey Elliott.
Having capitalized on Arsenal's defeat, Liverpool is now at the top of the Premier League table. Before facing Manchester United and Arsenal in their next league fixtures, Liverpool must focus on their final Europa League match against Union SG.
Under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool has an outstanding record in group-stage matches, winning 15 of their last 17 across the Europa League and Champions League, scoring 50 goals. Additionally, Liverpool is unbeaten in their previous five European visits to Belgium, instilling confidence as they prepare to face Union SG on Thursday.
INJURIES & SUSPENSIONUnion SG heads into Thursday's match with a clean bill of health, but they'll miss midfielder Charles Vanhoutte due to a one-match ban for accumulating yellow cards. In Vanhoutte's absence, Mathias Rasmussen may get a start alongside Lazare Amani and Cameron Puertas, who both played in the midfield in the previous match against Liverpool.
Mohamed Amoura, the top scorer, showcased his prowess with a brace in the recent victory over Charleroi, taking his total goals to 13 across all competitions. He's expected to maintain his position in the attack alongside Gustaf Nilsson.
On the Liverpool side, Alexis Mac Allister won't have the opportunity for a family reunion with brother Kevin Mac Allister, who is likely to start in defense for Union SG, as Alexis is sidelined with a knee injury. He joins Joel Matip (knee), Diogo Jota (muscle), Andrew Robertson (shoulder), Thiago Alcantara (hip), and Stefan Bajcetic (calf) in the treatment room.
Manager Klopp has opted to rest key players, including Salah (who scored his 200th goal for Liverpool against Crystal Palace), Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Alisson Becker.
They are not part of Liverpool's 23-man squad traveling to Belgium. However, Luis Diaz, Dominik Szoboszlai, Darwin Nunez, and Ibrahima Konate are available for selection. Additionally, young talents Kaide Gordon, Ben Doak, Conor Bradley, Calum Scanlon, James McConnell, and Tom Hill are also in contention for the match.
POSSIBLE LINE UPSUnion SG possible starting lineup:
Moris; Mac Allister, Burgess, Machida; Castro-Montes, Amani, Rasmussen, Puertas, Lapoussin; Amoura, Nilsson
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Kelleher; Gomez, Konate, Quansah, Tsimikas; Gravenberch, Endo, Jones; Elliott, Nunez, Diaz
Union SG 2-3 Liverpool
Despite the potential changes, the lineup chosen by Klopp is expected to be formidable enough to outscore their Belgian opponents, securing a victory and concluding their Group E campaign on a positive note.