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Europa League | Group Stage
Dec 14, 2023 at 5.45pm UK
Stade Joseph Marien
Liverpool logo

Union SG
2 - 1
Liverpool

El Amine Amoura (32'), Puertas (43')
Sadiki (53')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Quansah (39')
Bradley (23'), Scanlon (90+2')

Preview: Union SG vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Union SG and Liverpool, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Liverpool travel to Lotto Park in Belgium to face Union SG in their final Group E fixture of the Europa League on Thursday night.

While the Reds have already qualified for the last 16 as group winners, Union SG still have an outside chance of finishing in the top two and securing their spot in the knockout rounds.


Match preview

Union Saint-Gilloise coach Alexander Blessin on October 5, 2023© Reuters

Competing in the Europa League for just the second time in their history, Union SG's hopes of reaching the knockout round for the second successive year are out of their hands after playing out a goalless draw with Toulouse on matchday five a fortnight ago.

Alexander Blessin's side sit third in Group E after picking up five points from as many games, and they are required to pull off a colossal upset against Liverpool in their final group fixture, as well as hope that second-placed Toulouse suffer defeat to LASK Linz, if they are to progress to the knockout rounds.

Should Union SG finish third in the group, they will drop down into the Europa Conference League playoffs, but a potential fourth-placed finish would see them crash out of Europe altogether.

Since drawing with Toulouse, Union SG have won each of their last three domestic games by an aggregate score of 7-2, including last weekend's 3-1 victory away against Charleroi, a result which helped Blessin's men move six points clear at the top of the Belgian Pro League.

The Brussels-based outfit are now bidding to win successive Europa League home games for the first time, after beating LASK Linz 2-1 in October, but defeating Liverpool could prove challenging as they have lost each of their previous three meetings with English opposition, including a 2-0 defeat against the Reds at Anfield in the reverse fixture in September.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring against Crystal Palace on December 9, 2023© Reuters

Despite losing 3-2 to Toulouse on matchday four, Liverpool have punched their ticket to the Europa League last 16 with a game to spare after cruising to a 4-0 home victory over LASK Linz on matchday five two weeks ago.

Goals from Cody Gakpo (2), Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah helped the Reds claim their fourth win in Group E, as well as their 10th in a row at Anfield across all competitions this season, and they are now guaranteed to top the group as they sit four points clear of Toulouse in second.

Success over LASK Linz kick-started a four-match winning run for Jurgen Klopp's side, who followed up Premier League victories over Fulham and Sheffield United with a 2-1 win away against Crystal Palace last weekend, courtesy of a 91st-minute winner from Harvey Elliott.

Liverpool capitalised on Arsenal's defeat at Aston Villa to leapfrog the Gunners to the top of the Premier League table, and before the Reds prepare for mouthwatering clashes with Manchester United and Arsenal in their next two top-flight fixtures, they must shift their focus to their final Europa League match with Union SG, as they attempt to round off the group stage in style.

Klopp's side enter Thursday's contest having won 15 of their last 17 group-stage matches across the Europa League and Champions League, scoring 50 goals in the process, while they are also unbeaten in all five of their previous European visits to Belgian, so confidence will be understandably high heading to Union SG.

Union SG Europa League form:


Union SG form (all competitions):


Liverpool Europa League form:


Liverpool form (all competitions):



Team News

Liverpool's Alexis Mac Allister walks off the pitch to be substituted after sustaining an injury on December 6, 2023© Reuters

Union SG have a clean bill of health heading into Thursday's fixture, but they will have to cope without midfielder Charles Vanhoutte as he will serve a one-match ban due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

The absence of Vanhoutte could see Mathias Rasmussen handed a start alongside Lazare Amani and Cameron Puertas, who both started in the engine room in the reverse fixture against Liverpool.

Top scorer Mohamed Amoura netted brace in last weekend's win over Charleroi, increasing his goal tally across all competitions to 13, and he is expected to retain his place in attack alongside Gustaf Nilsson.

As for Liverpool, Alexis Mac Allister is unable to set up a reunion with brother Kevin Mac Allister – who is expected to start in defence for Union SG – as he has been ruled out with a knee injury, with the midfielder joining Joel Matip (knee), Diogo Jota (muscle), Andrew Robertson (shoulder), Thiago Alcantara (hip) and Stefan Bajcetic (calf) in the treatment room.

Klopp has also decided to rest Salah - who scored his 200th goal for Liverpool against Crystal Palace last weekend - Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alisson Becker, who have all been left out of Liverpool's 23-man travelling squad to Belgium.

Luis Diaz, Dominik Szoboszlai, Darwin Nunez and Ibrahima Konate are available for selection, though, along with youngsters Kaide Gordon, Ben Doak, Conor Bradley, Calum Scanlon, James McConnell and Tom Hill.


Union SG possible starting lineup:
Moris; Mac Allister, Burgess, Machida; Castro-Montes, Amani, Rasmussen, Puertas, Lapoussin; Amoura, Nilsson

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Kelleher; Gomez, Konate, Quansah, Tsimikas; Gravenberch, Endo, Jones; Elliott, Nunez, Diaz


SM words green background

We say: Union SG 1-3 Liverpool

The onus is on Union SG to take the game to Liverpool on home soil in their quest to secure a top-two finish, and Thursday's contest may be their best opportunity to get the better of the Reds, who could potentially field a much-rotated side.

Nevertheless, the lineup that Klopp selects should still be strong enough to outscore their Belgian counterparts en route to claiming all three points and completing Group E on a positive note.



For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data


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Game History

How you voted: Union SG vs Liverpool

Union SG
16.4%
Draw
14.7%
Liverpool
68.9%
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Tables header RHS

Group A

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Germany Germany32107
Q Switzerland Switzerland31205
3 Hungary Hungary31023
4 Scotland flag Scotland30121

Group B

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Spain Spain33009
Q Italy Italy31114
3 Croatia Croatia30212
4 Albania national flag Albania30121

Group C

TeamPWDLPTS
Q England flag England31205
Q Denmark Denmark30303
Q Slovenia Slovenia30303
4 Serbia Serbia30212

Group D

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Austria Austria32016
Q France France31205
Q Netherlands Netherlands31114
4 Poland Poland30121

Group E

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Romania Romania31114
Q Belgium Belgium31114
Q Slovakia Slovakia31114
4 Ukraine Ukraine31114

Group F

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Portugal Portugal32016
Q Turkey Turkey32016
Q Georgia Georgia31114
4 Czech Republic Czech Republic30121


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