Spartak Moscow v Liverpool preview: Loris Karius to start for Liverpool
Last Updated: 26/09/17 7:43pm
Liverpool will be aiming for their first Champions League win of the new season when they visit Spartak Moscow on Tuesday.
Jurgen Klopp, whose side were held to a 2-2 draw by Sevilla in their opening Group E match, has named a 21-man squad for the trip to Russia, with the Liverpool manager confirming that Loris Karius will start in goal.
"I'm happy to play in this competition," said Karius on Monday. "It's something you dream of as a player, the Champions League. I expect a difficult game. It's the Champions League and this is new surroundings for a lot of us but we're ready for it."
The travelling party also includes Sadio Mane, returning from a three-game domestic suspension, and Philippe Coutinho, who scored his first goal of the season in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Leicester on Saturday.
Klopp says Coutinho is in a good condition following his summer injury, and realises Spartak would be a fine place to get a result.
"He is now in a good shape, that's really important for us. He had a fantastic game at the weekend, so that's really important.
"[Spartak] are a football-playing side, and very experienced, so we will be ready, we need to be ready, but it would be a good place to win."
The Reds follow their visit to Russia by facing Newcastle at St James' on Nissan Super Sunday and they then have a two-week break before their clash against Manchester United at Anfield on October 14.
Spartak Moscow also drew their first group-stage game, earning a 1-1 draw at Maribor, but they will be without key forward Quincy Promes, who sustained a calf injury in the 2-0 win over Kuban Krasnodar in the Russian Cup last week.
"We will have 11 players on the pitch, others will go in, and we will play our game," said manager Massimo Carrera.
"We know that we are playing a strong team with quality players. Our job is to play our game without fear."
Karius starts in goal and Mane returns from suspension, but Liverpool will be without Joe Gomez, who serves his one-game ban following his red card against Sevilla.
Spartak will be without Dutch striker Promes (calf), captain Denis Glushakov, striker Ze Luis and midfielder Jano Ananidze due to injuries.
Spartak and Liverpool's only previous Champions League encounter was in the 2002/03 first group stage. Liverpool won both games, including a 3-1 victory in Russia
Spartak have won only two of their last 17 home games in the Champions League (D5 L10). They've also kept only one clean sheet in their last 18 games on home soil in the competition
Spartak have won only five of their last 36 Champions League games (D6 L25). They have also failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 11 outings in the competition
Spartak's last 19 Champions League goals have all been scored from inside the box
Spartak have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League only once in their 11 previous appearances, it was in 1995/96 (quarter-finalists)
Meanwhile, this is Liverpool's 10th Champions League campaign, and only their second appearance in the group stages in the last eight seasons. They haven't reached the knockout stages of the Champions League since 2008/09
Liverpool have failed to win any of their last six Champions League games (D3 L3), their longest ever run without a victory in the competition. They have also failed to keep a clean sheet in their last eight CL games
Charlie Nicholas' prediction
This is a difficult one for Liverpool. Trying to work out their issues isn't so challenging and I imagine Jurgen Klopp will try to play a squeezing game to take the pressure off the defence.
Philippe Coutinho being back in the goals is a huge positive but they've got Sadio Mane to come back in, so you wonder whether that will mean a deeper role for the Brazil midfielder?
I see they are odds-on with Sky Bet but, while they are good going forward, you can get at their midfield and their defence is in real trouble, so I'm going to take them on.
Simon Mignolet got them out of trouble against Leicester with his penalty save and, while Klopp isn't under pressure for his job, he is under pressure in terms of not addressing their issues.
The Sevilla result was a really bad one in the sense that they can't afford to lose at home and I think Spartak will treat this like an away game, look to expose Liverpool when they come forward, and I can see another troubling night.
Charlie predicts: 1-1 and Luiz Adriano to score first (40/1 with Sky Bet)
Klopp's men drifted out to 22/1 to win the competition after failing to win their opener, although they are 10/11 favourites to win Group E.
Roberto Firmino heads the goalscorer market and is enhanced from 4/1 to 5/1 to net first in Sky Bet's Price Boosts, while Quincy Promes is considered the hosts' main threat at 7/4 to score anytime.