Liverpool return to Europa League commitments by welcoming Heart of Midlothian to Anfield for the second leg of the qualifying round play-off.


The Reds hold a 1-0 lead in the tie and are only ninety minutes away from entering group stages of the competition. Brendan Rodgers has promised to field a strong side this time, meaning some of the big names - such as Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez - who missed the trip to Edinburgh, could be involved. But the Northern Irishman will also have an eye on the massive league game against Arsenal at the weekend and is likely to rotate his squad again. Meanwhile, Hearts remain unbeaten in the Scottish league after their first four fixtures. Manager John McGlynn is unlikely to rest any big guns for this clash as the Jambos still harbor hopes of advancing to the group stages of the Europa League for the first time since 2004.

Andy Carroll
Carroll is set for a start against Hearts Reuters

Team News:

Hearts: Captain Marius Zaliukas, who has been struggling with a thigh injury, is expected to be fit to start. The Edinburgh outfit are likely to continue with the same team that played well and lost to an own-goal in the first leg. Much will be expected of striker John Sutton - a Tottenham Hotspur academy product - and wingers Arvydas Novikovas and David Templeton.

Liverpool: Anchorman Lucas Leiva has been ruled out for up to three months with a thigh injury, while new signings Nuri Sahin and Oussama Assaidi are ineligible to participate in this round. Otherwise, Rodgers has a full squad to pick from. Both Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger did not play any part against Manchester City at the weekend and will be lining up in front of Pepe Reina in the centre of defence. Since Glen Johnson played a full ninety against City, Martin Kelly and Jon Flanagan will be in contention for the right back role and the former looks like the favorite. Jose Enrique made a late appearance at the weekend and seemed close to full fitness, so a start at home against Hearts will be a good idea to give him some game time ahead of Arsenal's visit. But if Rodgers decides to rest the Spaniard, Jack Robinson will come in at left back.

Midfield is a tough call. Jay Spearing, who started the first leg last week, is reportedly on his way out of Liverpool, while Charlie Adam - who also played the full match at Edinburgh - is widely expected to be offloaded before midnight on 31 August, after Rodgers admitted the Scot might have to leave Anfield if he wants regular football. Meanwhile, Joe Allen is likely to be rested after he played the full ninety at the weekend and with Lucas out, the Welshman is expected to play a deeper role in future league games, like he did against City. Jonjo Shelvey and Jordan Henderson should start this clash and since Rodgers has guaranteed the presence of big names, captain Steven Gerrard looks a contender for the last spot in the three-man centre midfield.

The Luis Suarez-Fabio Borini-Raheem Sterling forward line did well against City but they are likely to be rested for this tie, especially since both Borini and Sterling also started the first leg against Hearts last week and the Reds face Arsenal next. It seems out-of-favour striker Andy Carroll will finally get his chance to lead the Reds attack. Stewart Downing, who missed the last two games, will provide support to the England international from one flank, while there is a good chance Joe Cole, who has also fallen down the pecking order, could be on the other.

Probable Line-Up

Liverpool (4-3-3): Reina; Kelly, Carragher, Agger, Enrique; Henderson, Gerrard, Shelvey; Cole, Carroll, Downing

Hearts (4-3-3): MacDonald; Paterson, Webster, Zaliukas, Grainger; McGowan, Barr, Taouil; Novikovas, Sutton, Templeton

Where to Watch Live:

Kick-off is at 7.30 pm BST, with coverage on ESPN and ESPN HD.