Philippe Coutinho returns as Liverpool chase unbeaten end to Europa League group
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 10/12/15 6:16pm
Philippe Coutinho has returned to the squad and has traveled to Switzerland as Liverpool prepare for their final Europa League Group B game at Sion on Thursday evening.
Jurgen KIopp's men have already qualified but will hope to stay unbeaten and secure a more favourable draw for the knockout stages by finishing top of the group.
The Reds are just one point ahead of their opponents and they must avoid defeat if they are to remain at the summit heading into the Round of 32.
Sion also need a point to qualify, although they will be wary of the result from Bordeaux v Rubin Kazan as a win for the visitors with a better goal difference could see them through instead.
Liverpool will be looking to bounce straight back after a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday, coming after a run of four wins, which included a 2-1 win over Bordeaux in their last Europa League tie.
The big news for Liverpool is the return of playmaker Coutinho, though Klopp has not yet confirmed whether he will start.
Daniel Sturridge, is sidelined, however, after picking up a hamstring strain at St James' Park - though the club say it is not as bad as first feared.
The England striker missed the start of the season after a number of injury problems and had made a promising return, netting twice against Southampton during their 6-1 Capital One Cup win last week.
Jordan Ibe will also miss out due to illness, with Lucas Leiva, Joe Allen and Alberto Moreno rested and left on Merseyside.
Plenty of youngsters are expected to feature in the matchday squad, including Jordan Rossiter, Brad Smith and Connor Randall - who has signed a new contract to keep him at Anfield until the summer of 2019.
Liverpool's 13 outings against Swiss sides have ended W6 D5 L2 (W3 D1 L2 in Switzerland).
Liverpool advanced to the knockout phase in both previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns - 2010/11 and 2012/13 - making it a 100% record with three out of three this term.
Roy Evans' Liverpool eliminated Alberto Bigon's Sion in the 1996/97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup second round, winning 2-1 in Switzerland and 6-3 at Anfield.
Sion were the first visiting team to score three times in a European fixture at Anfield; only FC Barcelona (1-3, 2001), Chelsea FC (1-3, 2009), Udinese Calcio (2-3, 2012) and Real Madrid CF (0-3, 2014) have done so since.