Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk will miss the Europa League tie in Toulouse due to illness but his place could be filled by a youngster whose rapid rise this season initially took manager Jurgen Klopp by surprise.
When 20-year-old Jarell Quansah joined the squad for pre-season training there was not a lot of consideration given to him playing much of a role in the current campaign and there were even discussions about sending him out on loan.
Klopp decided against that and after making his debut in the 10-man win at Newcastle in August, the academy graduate has made seven appearances, including a Premier League start at Wolves and back-to-back appearances in Europe, and will be looking to add to that in Toulouse, whom Liverpool thrashed 5-1 last time out.
“Virgil is a little bit ill, it will not be a big thing but we didn’t want him on the plane and maybe others have it a little bit as well,” said Klopp.
“That’s why we left him at home. It should be all right for the weekend.”
Asked about Quansah’s prospects, the German added: “If you would have asked me pre-season (if) he would be that good I would have been surprised but since then I saw him every day and I am not surprised any more.
“It’s great to have a boy from our own academy with that potential and quality. We will see where he ends up but it is extremely promising. There was talk about him going on loan and we said ‘no’, that was obviously a very good decision.”
Klopp’s biggest selection problem appears to be in midfield as he has also had to leave Ryan Gravenberch and Curtis Jones behind.
“Ryan got a little niggle in the knee. He was running already today but there was no chance for this game,” he added.
“We hope there is a chance for Brentford and he will definitely be back after the international break.”
Jones missed Sunday’s draw at Luton with a “low-grade” hamstring problem which Klopp said would keep him out for a couple of weeks but with Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic long-term absentees, it means midfield resources are being stretched.
Wataru Endo and Harvey Elliott look certain to start as Liverpool look to book qualification to the knockout stages with two matches to spare and Alexis Mac Allister could be favourite for the third spot as he is suspended for Sunday’s game against Brentford, although Dominik Szoboszlai, Cody Gakpo and 19-year-old James McConnell could also play there.
Sunday’s goalscorer Luis Diaz has also travelled as he awaits further news on the status of his father after his kidnapping in Colombia.
“Always positive signs but not real news. He decided (to rejoin the squad) last week because he cannot go to Colombia – that will not be the case in the moment – and when he is here training and around matches it is a safe place,” said Klopp.
“He wants to be with us, he has travelled and is available.”
After their hammering at Anfield last time out, Toulouse coach Carles Martinez is looking for a degree of improvement.
“It’s true that 5-1 is a pretty heavy score. The result is severe but we have gained experience,” he said.
“We don’t keep this match in mind. We think about what we can improve. It is mainly the mental qualities that will be the most important.”