KICKOFF: 1pm EST, 6pm BST
Thanks to the freaks at Penn State, it's exceedingly difficult to make jokes about Young Boys and not feel like a total turd or to have someone show up at your door with torches and lots of friends. So I guess I'd better tread lightly here. But the connection between the team Liverpool are playing tomorrow and the team they will be fielding is going to be pretty hard to ignore.
Because, let's be honest. There are going to be a fair amount of young boys in red.We know who's not going. Agger, Skrtel, Reina, Gerrard, Johnson, Allen, and Suarez aren't even traveling. That leaves a host of younguns to fill in the holes there. It's hard to see who will get both this game in and again on Sunday against United.
One candidate is Nuri Sahin. He will almost certainly start, probably alongside Jordan Henderson and...you name it. Suso? Pacheco? I really have no idea. I'm glad that Henderson will get a look tomorrow and probably the following midweek at West Brom in the League Cup. He needs games, he needs chance to prove to Rodgers that he can fit into this system, that he has a future, that he can be a real player in the future. Because I believe all of those things. Sahin just needs games.
The backline is easy to figure out. Flanagan-Carragher-Coates-Enrique. The Spaniard needs match fitness, but if he can't go Jack Robinson will. Carragher and Coates have started a couple games together already, so there's less chance of unfamiliarity causing a major wound in the side. But it's still there, as neither of these two have proven to be surefire. However, both have tried in their brief appearances to really stick to the Rodgers philosophy of playing out of the back. In Carra's case that's a bit of a surprise.
Up front? God help us. Borini could get another start as he needs some polishing up. But he's started every game and could use a break, as he'll almost certainly start against The Empire on Sunday. Adam Morgan could line up for his second straight Europa League start. Yesil will be involved, but chucking him from the start seems such a huge ask. Whichever of Pacheco or Suso doesn't get the most-forward midfield spot could get a wing. Sterling would have to be rested you think, but you never know. Downing is probably likely to start on the right, but may get a start at leftback. And we may finally get a look as Oussama Assaidi. But it really could be anything.
Young Boys have been a consistent force in the Swiss League, never finishing below third in six years. It will be a raucous atmosphere. You may remember this club giving Spurs everything they could handle in the home leg a couple years ago in the qualifying stages of the Champions League. They currently sit fifth in the league after eight games. After that, I can't help you.
Sending the kids out fills you with anxiety about them getting slaughtered by a club playing a what is for them a very big game at home. The Swiss side won't be pulling any punches. It also fills you with at least curiosity if not excitement at what some of the kids we've only heard about or seen in preseason friendlies can do when it really counts. And you think if they can grind out any kind of result, with the regulars more likely to play in the home fixtures in this competition, that Liverpool can progress without overburdening the stars any more than they already are. But we'll find out tomorrow.