Liverpool is set to visit Lotto Park in Belgium to face Union SG in their final Group E fixture of the Europa League on Thursday night.
Although the Reds have already secured their place in the last 16 as group winners, Union SG still has an outside chance of finishing in the top two and advancing to the knockout rounds.
Competing in the Europa League for only the second time in their history, Union SG’s hopes of progressing to the knockout round depend on a significant upset against Liverpool and Toulouse’s defeat to LASK Linz.
They’ve amassed five points from as many games and currently sit third in Group E.
Since their goalless draw with Toulouse, Union SG has secured three consecutive domestic wins, including a 3-1 victory against Charleroi last weekend, helping them maintain a six-point lead at the top of the Belgian Pro League.
While Union SG aims for back-to-back home wins in the Europa League, their task against Liverpool remains challenging.
They have faced defeats in their previous three meetings with English teams, including a 2-0 loss against Liverpool in the reverse fixture in September.
Despite a 3-2 loss to Toulouse, Liverpool booked their ticket to the Europa League last 16 by comfortably defeating LASK Linz 4-0 on matchday five. They currently sit at the top of Group E, four points ahead of Toulouse.
Liverpool enters Thursday’s match with high confidence after securing a 2-1 victory against Crystal Palace in the Premier League, climbing to the top of the Premier League table.
Having won 15 of their last 17 group-stage matches across the Europa League and Champions League, Liverpool aims to maintain their impressive European record and finish the group stage on a positive note.
Union SG enters the fixture without any major injury concerns but will miss midfielder Charles Vanhoutte due to suspension from accumulated yellow cards.
Liverpool will be without Joel Matip, Diogo Jota, Andrew Robertson, Thiago Alcantara, and Stefan Bajcetic due to various injuries.
Alexis Mac Allister is uncertain due to a knee injury, while manager Jurgen Klopp may opt to rotate his squad, potentially resting key players like Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah.
Union SG: (3-5-2)
Mac Allister, Burgess, Machida;
Castro-Montes, Amani, Rasmussen, Puertas, Lapoussin;
Gomez, Konate, Quansah, Tsimikas;
Gravenberch, Endo, Jones;
Elliott, Nunez, Diaz
Prediction: Union SG 1-3 Liverpool
Union SG will aim to attack Liverpool on home turf to secure a top-two finish, making it a challenging contest.
However, even with a potentially rotated squad, Liverpool’s quality should see them secure a victory and end the Group E campaign positively.