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Liverpool will ring changes vs. Union SG – with full debut likely for new midfielder

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Liverpool round off their Europa League group-stage campaign when they face Union Saint-Gilloise on Thursday, with Jurgen Klopp likely to make significant changes.

The Reds’ passage to the knockout stage as group winners is already secured ahead of this trip to Belgium, meaning they have little to play for.

Meanwhile, Klopp must consider the effects of a run of five games in 15 days, and the fact that a crucial week featuring key meetings with Man United, West Ham and Arsenal is coming up.

As such, the German has every reason to name an unfamiliar starting XI to run out at Stade Joseph Marien.

The first of his picks is arguably the easiest, with Caoimhin Kelleher certain to come in to replace Alisson in goal.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, November 30, 2023: Liverpool's Conor Bradley after the UEFA Europa League Group E match day 5 game between Liverpool FC and LASK at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And it seems a straightforward call to give Conor Bradley and Luke Chambers starts at right and left-back respectively, as they look to build on recent first-team outings.

However, Klopp may have little choice but to rely on his third and fourth-choice centre-backs Joe Gomez and Jarell Quansah here, despite a likely aversion to using first-teamers.

In midfield, Wataru Endo should be ready to take on the anchor role after playing just 45 minutes at Crystal Palace, though his minutes will still need to be managed if he is to deputise for Alexis Mac Allister against Man United.

Ahead of the Japan captain, Harvey Elliott has largely featured off the bench of late, and so fatigue is no reason to leave him out of this one as he looks to keep up his fine form.

And alongside him, it would be interesting to see James McConnell get a rare opportunity to show what he is about having impressed in pre-season.

Up top, Cody Gakpo might be worth calling up for a 60-minute runout having been used sparingly in this busy recent run.

And on the right flank, Ben Doak is the obvious pick to come in for Mohamed Salah, as he has done on numerous occasions in the Europa League this season.

The left wing is perhaps a trickier pick, but recent workloads mean Klopp should resist any temptation to use Luis Diaz or Darwin Nunez there.

As such, while he might be more comfortable on the right, Kaide Gordon is unlikely to complain about being given the opportunity to shine on the opposite flank.

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