Jurgen Klopp takes charge of his first Liverpool game at Anfield on Thursday evening, and Charlie Nicholas has told Sky Sports that the German boss will be hoping to identify his best shape and players during the game.
Nicholas said: “Jurgen Klopp has to have a lot of interest in this game, not so much because of the competition, but the interest is he has to identify his shape. I think we will be interested in giving Jordon Ibe, and a few others, an opportunity to see whether they can fit in the team.”
Liverpool have yet to win a game in the Europa League this season, picking up two draws from their two games, and they will be hoping for three points to give them the advantage of moving into the top two places in their group.
However, Nicholas believes that Klopp will not be so interested in the competition, but will actually be focusing upon what he can learn about his side from the game, having so far only managed them in one competitive fixture.
He has yet to settle upon his best group of players, and needs to understand if certain members of his squad - Nicholas singles out Jordon Ibe - can fit into the system he is hoping to bring to Anfield.
Thankfully for Klopp, Rubin Kazan are not the toughest opponents, and a victory for the Reds is very likely. This means the German boss can change things around, and use this tie as something of a training match for members of his squad who would not normally be in his first XI for Premier League action.
Klopp should be focusing on picking up good results in the Europa League, as winning the competition is likely their best chance of qualifying for the Champions League this season, but against Rubin Kazan, the new head coach has the best opportunity to test out his squad in a less competitive environment than usual.