MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Rubin Kazan

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As the excitement of Klopp’s first game began to fade at the start of this week, a renewed excitement is bubbling as we look forward to welcoming Klopp to Anfield for his first home game as manager. His opposition? Rubin Kazan in the Europa League.

Liverpool have a massive injury list to contend with recent news appearing to reveal that the likes of Benteke, Firmino and Sturridge would be available for selection on Thursday. However, Klopp has revealed in his press conference today that those players will still be unavailable. Kazan have a relatively strong squad to choose from however their midfielder Sergey Kislyak is unavailable as he serves a ban.

Interestingly for this fixture, both clubs have had new managers since the group stage draw. Unlike Liverpool, the Russians come into this fixture on the back of a league win and they currently find themselves 12th in the league. The Reds will surely take heart from their 0-0 draw with Spurs based on work ethic alone but will that be enough with a vastly depleted side for Klopp to pick up his first win?

Liverpool have never faced Rubin Kazan before, they have however clashed with Russian opposition on occasion. Zenit visited Anfield during February 2013 in the Europa League and the Reds won the game 3-1, Luis Suarez and Joe Allen were on the scoresheet that day.

In 2002, Spartak Moscow visited L4 and the Reds put five goals past them with no return, Emile Heskey scored a brace in that fixture. Overall Liverpool have a pretty solid record at home against Russian opposition.

Valeriy Chaly’s side have only won one out of their last five fixures in all competitions and have scored just three goals during that time. Their most recent victory over Ufa in the league saw Kuzmin score twice and the suspended Kislyak also found the back of the net.

I would usually include your score predictions here but because I’ve been snowed under with Uni work I never got round to asking you! A quick scroll through Twitter seems to show a favouring for a 2-1 or 3-1 win and if I manage to put a bet on tomorrow I’ll probably be going for 2-0 personally. Despite our massive injury worries I just don’t feel like Rubin Kazan should be able to get the better of us at home.

It would be nice to see Klopp celebrate for the first time too as his side nets!

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

P.s. there’s about a week left of voting in the finals of the football blogging awards, so if you like what I do here on The Liver Bird, please take a second to tweet this – “I am voting for @LFCKirstyLFC in @TheFBAs as best #Established football blog”

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Source: The Liver Bird