John Aldridge on how Liverpool should approach Europa League tie with Augsburg

SGL Arena interior - FC Augsburg

Aldridge wants to see the strongest side possible on show against the Bundesliga side.

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge hopes the Reds go with the strongest team possible in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie against Augsburg on Thursday night.

The Reds travel to Germany on the back of a 6-0 win against Aston Villa and face three games that could prove crucial to the outcome of their season.

Liverpool face back-to-back games against Augsburg - with the first leg taking place in Bavaria - before the League Cup final against Manchester City at the end of the month.

Aldridge wrote in his Liverpool Echo column: "For me, it's huge. It's our only chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League, and I want to see our strongest possible team over in Augsburg.

"We've had to play it carefully in the cup competitions this season due to the sheer number of games. We've had to give young players the chance, and some of them have taken their opportunities as well.

"But the fixture list looks a little easier now. There's no FA Cup, and only one big League Cup game remaining. We have a few players back, and I think now is the time to find a settled team and start building up that trust and understanding."

The return of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi was certainly felt at the weekend as all three were involved in Liverpool's emphatic win. It was also the first time Sturridge and Coutinho were allowed to play with Roberto Firmino under Jurgen Klopp.

If Liverpool manage to keep up that kind of goalscoring in Bavaria then they could well have the tie won ahead of the second leg at Anfield the following week, and give the manager some licence to rest one or two key players ahead of their meeting with Manchester City at Wembley for the first piece of silverware on offer this season.

The Reds are strong favourites to get through, and fielding a strong side in the first leg would show they mean business in the Europa League.

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