Liverpool host Bundesliga outfit Augsburg in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
Liverpool just had the better of what was a pretty poor game in Germany last week and will no doubt be happy to come back to Anfield with a 0-0 draw. They didn’t have to contend with an FA Cup tie at the weekend and this competition looks to be a priority for the Reds now this season with the top-four out of reach, though they do have the League Cup final on Sunday and that could have an impact on Klopp’s team selection here. Augsburg, meanwhile, continued their good form with a 1-0 win away at Hannover in the Bundesliga to move up to 13th, having been down in 18th after 12 games of the season.
Liverpool’s Europa League home record since 2009/10 is an excellent W12-D6-L1 as they kept a clean sheet in nine of these matches and led at the break in eight. However, they’ve only won five of their last 12 and only one of those wins was by more than one goal. We have Liverpool ranked as the 42nd best side in Europe while Augsburg are not far below them in 61st and the record of sides ranked between 37th and 47th when hosting teams between 56th and 66th in the Europa League since 2003/04 is a modest W2-D5-L2. The closest Premier League sides to Augsburg in our rankings are Southampton, who are slightly above them, while Stoke and West Ham are a couple of places below and Liverpool have drawn against Southampton this season and lost 3-0 against West Ham, though both of those were early in the season under Brendan Rodgers.
In their first European campaign, Augsburg beat Partizan and Alkmaar on the road, but lost 3-1 at Bilbao in their opening game in the competition. Mainz, Hertha, Schalke, Monchengladbach and Wolfsburg are the closest German sides to Liverpool according to our rankings and Augsburg’s away record against those teams since the start of last season is W1-D1-L5, though only one of those defeats was by more than goal. Augsburg’s league away form is very good as they’ve won four of their last six road games, keeping five clean sheets in these matches.
The record of home teams in the second leg of Europa League last-32 ties when the first leg was a goalless draw since 2008/09 is W9-D0-L3 but if we exclude instances when the home team was ranked more than 50 places above their opposition, then it’s only W4-D0-L3 in that time. With the League Cup final looming and since Liverpool have only won one of their last 12 Europa League home games by more than one goal, we’re siding with Augsburg to be competitive in this one.
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