James Milner
James Milner is a doubt for Liverpool's clash with Manchester United after being sent home from training with a virusGetty

Liverpool are preparing for one of their biggest nights in Europe in recent seasons when they welcome arch rivals Manchester United to Anfield for a last 16 clash of the Europa League on Thursday (10 March) night. The Reds, however, could be without James Milner and Martin Skrtel while Jon Flanagan is ineligible for the clash. But Daniel Sturridge, Nathaniel Clyne and Philippe Coutinho could be in line for a recall to the starting XI after missing out in their previous clash against Crystal Palace.

According to the Liverpool Echo, Milner is a major doubt after being sent home from training with a virus, while the Slovakian defender, despite returning to training, is not fully match fit to take part from the start, which will see Mamadou Sakho partner Dejan Lovren at the heart of the back four. Flanagan, on the other hand, is not eligible after he was omitted from the Europa League squad submitted to Uefa earlier in the year owing to his lack of action due to long-term injury. He is currently fit and Jurgen Klopp has admitted that it was a mistake to leave him out of the squad as he has been impressive following his return from injury.

The clash between the two English top-flight giants is a highly-anticipated clash and the German manager, who has described it as the "mother of all games", will be keen to name his strongest line up as they will look capitalise on home advantage. Sturridge was rested for their clashes against Manchester City and Crystal Palace and he will be raring to go when the Red Devils visit and his rivalry with United began even before he moved to Anfield, as he came through the youth ranks at other Manchester club.

The report claims that Milner's absence will not be a big blow but a boon for the manager, as his current preferred formation of 4-2-3-1 will see one of Coutinho, Milner, Lallana, Sturridge or Firmino get cut out of the starting XI but the former's absence will ease the manager's selection headache ahead of the game.