James Milner a doubt for Liverpool's heavyweight European clash against Manchester United

Following a weekend sending off against Crystal Palace, the midfielder could now miss the European first leg due to a virus.

James Milner a doubt for Liverpool's heavyweight European clash against Manchester United
Milner applauds the away fans after Liverpool's 3-1 loss at Old Trafford earlier this season (photo: getty)

Liverpool midfielder James Milner has emerged as a late doubt for Thursday's Europa League first leg against Manchester United, after it was revealed that the winger has been struck down with a virus.

With the two English teams meeting for the first time ever in European competition, it comes as a blow for Reds manager Jürgen Klopp, who will be hoping to have as many players available for selection, as he looks to out-do United boss Louis Van Gaal, who has overseen four consecutive victories against Liverpool.

However, it looks like Milner might not make the first leg of the last 16 tie, having been sent home by medical staff following turning up for training on Wednesday, before complaining about feeling unwell. It capped a disappointing few days for the midfielder, after he was sent-off in the Reds' win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Milner recieves his marching orders on Sunday (photo: reuters)
Milner recieves his marching orders on Sunday (photo: reuters)

Who replaces Milner, should he be out?

With the midfielder likely to be out, it leaves Klopp with something of a selection headache, given that the Englishman is a regular starter currently. Most pundits believe that Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino are likely to play just off Daniel Sturridge, whilst Emre Can and Jordan Henderson will definitely be in central midfield, bar a late injury. 

The obvious choice to come into the team is Adam Lallana, especially after his excellent performance against Manchester City last week. However, Klopp may feel that using Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino and Sturridge together would be too attacking, leaving the door open for either Pedro Chirivella or Joe Allen

Lucas and Kevin Stewart are both sidelined so won't be considered for selection, whilst if Klopp is going to go with an attacking team, but doesn't fancy Lallana, Divock Origi could play on the left rather than his usual position as a striker.