Martin Skrtel
Skrtel wanted to return on Thursday after recovering from a muscular problem. Getty

Martin Skrtel is almost certain to miss Liverpool's Europa League clash with Manchester United after being named in the Under-21 side due to play 24 hours before the showdown at Old Trafford.

Skrtel has been sidelined with a hamstring tear since December, but stepped up his return after featuring against United's Under-21 ranks in a an Under-21 Premier League match on 11 March,

The Slovakia international played for an hour, with Liverpool Under-21 boss Michael Beale revealing after the match the defender was "itching" to return for Thursday's second leg clash.

"It was always the plan," Beale told Liverpool's official website of Skrtel's return for the Under-21s. "Martin has obviously been out for some time now and he will be itching to get into the squad for next Thursday and move onwards from there"

But any hopes of Skrtel being included in Jurgen's Klopp squad would appear to have been ended after the defender travelled down to London for the Under-21 Premier League Cup semi-final against West Ham United at Rush Green on Wednesday night.

The 31-year-old has been named in the starting XI for tonight's match, along with Jon Flanagan, who is unavailable for European competition after not being included in Liverpool's revised squad for the second half of the season.

Liverpool have a 2-0 aggregate lead ahead of Thursday's return leg against United. Goals from Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino ensured Klopp's side travel to Manchester with their destiny in their own hands, and Philippe Coutinho admitted he is hoping to put the final nail in the coffin with a goal of his own.

"It would mean a lot," Coutinho said.

"Whenever we score a goal it is very good. Last week I was close but ended up missing. I have to continue working to be able to score goals and, of course, to score a goal in a game like this, in the Europa League, would be a very special moment."