Brendan Rodgers has put his trust in Philippe Coutinho to bring home the points for Liverpool in their Europa League opener away at Bordeaux this evening.
The Reds boss has made eight changes to the side which was beaten 3-1 by rivals Manchester United on Saturday, with Coutinho back after a domestic ban.
The Brazilian, sent off in the 3-0 defeat to West Ham United, has already been Liverpool’s match-winner this season with this stunning late strike at Stoke City.
Coutinho is one of only a couple of first-team regulars in the starting XI tonight, with Roberto Firmino and Danny Ings included on a bench full of untried youngsters.
Resting the likes of Christian Benteke, James Milner, Martin Skrtel and Nathaniel Clyne for the trip to France is a risk, especially with Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge not available.
But Rodgers’s team selection seems to indicate that he feels Coutinho could be good enough to almost single-handedly drag the visitors to victory against their Ligue 1 opponents.
The 23-year-old playmaker scored five goals and contributed five assists in the Premier League last season on his way to being nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award.
And he has been threatening to go up another gear in the early stages of this campaign as Liverpool look for a new go-to man following the departure of heroic leader Steven Gerrard.
Elsewhere, Rodgers has handed just a second ever start to home-grown midfielder Jordan Rossiter. Adam Lallana returns after three games out, while Divock Origi makes his full debut as the lone striker.
Joe Gomez is the only defender retained from the Old Trafford defeat as Mamadou Sakho, Kolo Toure and Alberto Moreno each make their first starts of the season in what may be a 3-4-2-1 formation.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 17, 2015
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