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Nov 1, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at ​Anfield
Salah (49'), Can (64'), Sturridge (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Liverpool vs. Maribor

Sports Mole previews the Champions League encounter at Anfield between Liverpool and Maribor.

Liverpool play host to Maribor on Wednesday night looking to secure the win which would either take the club to the top of Group E or create a significant gap between third-placed Sevilla.

As for Maribor, the Slovenian outfit must find a way to respond from their 7-0 defeat two weeks ago, and only victory will do for the visitors if they want to maintain any hope of qualifying for the last 16.


Jurgen Klopp celebrates during the Champions League playoff between Liverpool and Hoffenheim on August 23, 2017© SilverHub

When Liverpool only recorded draws against Sevilla and Spartak Moscow, there were inevitably question about whether their return to the Champions League would end before Christmas, but Jurgen Klopp's side delivered that much-needed win in style on matchday three.

Liverpool were always favourites to see off Maribor, even on their travels, but the manner of the success has boosted the Premier League side's stock at the halfway point of the group stages and two more victories should be enough for qualification for the knockout stages.

Complacency may naturally be a factor after thrashing a side 7-0 having registered 14 shots on targets and created 26 chances, but the Merseyside giants should relish the opportunity to improve their goal difference in a group which could be decided by the smallest of margins.

On Saturday, it was important that Liverpool showed that they were not reliant on the ability of Philippe Coutinho and while Huddersfield Town may have been dealing with a case of 'after the lord mayor's show' after beating Manchester United a week earlier, Liverpool still went out and put on a clinical performance.

Daniel Sturridge finally got back on the scoresheet - over two months since his previous goal - while a third clean sheet in four games was recorded, with Liverpool now only conceding two goals from five matches aside from the capitulation against Tottenham Hotspur.

Klopp and his players should be able to make easy work of Wednesday's opponents, but it will be the manner of the performance that determines the judgement of the fans and there is a need for Liverpool to put on a show on a European night at Anfield after squandering so many chances against Sevilla on matchday one.

Recent form: DDW
Recent form (all competitions): DDDWLW


General view of inside Stadion Maksimir, home of GNK Dinamo Zagreb before the UEFA Champions League first leg play off between GNK Dinamo Zagreb and NK Maribor at the Stadion Maksimir on August 22, 2012© Getty Images

Maribor have only been active in European competition on one occasion past Christmas, and suffering such a heavy defeat to Liverpool two weeks ago has effectively left the Slovenian side requiring three wins to earn a spot in the knockout stages of this tournament.

However, although facing an uphill task, boss Darko Milanic - known in English football for his 32-day spell at Leeds United in 2014 - will not give up hope of reaching the last 32 of the Europa League and even a point at Anfield could go some way to achieving that feat.

The Vijolice would have been hugely disappointed after succumbing so tamely in the fixture at the Ljudski vrt and a similarly one-sided defeat in Sevilla last month will not do anything to improve belief ahead of the trip to the North-West of England, but Maribor continue to impress on the domestic front.

Sixteen games have been played since Maribor were beaten in the top flight - a 2-0 defeat to Celje in May - and Milanic's side warmed up for this match with a 1-0 victory at Domzale, who are former Europa League opponents of West Ham United.

Maribor sit joint-top and remain undefeated after 14 matches in the league, while the goals have been shared about with Jasmin Mesanovic the top scorer with just six goals.

However, Maribor do not have fond memories of their last visit to England in the Champions League, with Chelsea running out 6-0 winners at Stamford Bridge back in October 2014.

Recent form: DLL
Recent form (all competitions): DLWLWW

Team News

Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho in action during his side's Premier League clash with Newcastle United at St James' Park on October 1, 2017© SilverHub

Coutinho remains a big doubt for Liverpool ahead of the game on Wednesday night, although Klopp may decide against risking his star man for a fixture against the group minnows.

Loris Karius and Trent Alexander-Arnold are likely to be included, while Emre Can should be handed a recall after only starting on the bench at the weekend.

With Klopp potentially against starting Sturridge twice in five days, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be given a start on the right flank with Roberto Firmino playing down the middle.

Dejan Lovren is another player likely to miss out after his absence at the weekend, with Ragnar Klavan likely to feature alongside Joel Matip.

Milanic could potentially include striker Marcos Tavares, who was dropped to the bench in their most recent fixture after a run of 10 games without a goal.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Milner; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Firmino

Maribor possible starting lineup:
Handanovic, Rajcevic, Viler, Suler, Kabaa, Vrsic, Milec, Hotic, Pihler, Bobar, Tavares

Head To Head

Liverpool and Maribor will be meeting for just the second time, with the fixture in Slovenia earlier this month representing the first-ever clash between the clubs.

The Reds' only previous experience of Slovenian teams came back in the 2003-04 season, when the Merseyside giants emerged victorious by a 4-1 aggregate scoreline in a UEFA Cup tie with Olimpija Ljubljana.

Maribor have only been successful in one of their nine matches against English opposition, with Wigan Athletic being defeated during the group stages of the Europa League in 2013-14.

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We say: Liverpool 3-0 Maribor

There is surely only one winner on Wednesday night. Liverpool showed that they were several levels above Maribor two weeks ago and that they had returned to form by easing past Huddersfield Town at the weekend. Klopp's side are always capable of conceding a goal, but we expect the Premier League side to run out convincing victors.

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