Preview: Dortmund v Liverpool

Liverpool (AFP)
Liverpool (AFP)

Cape Town - Jurgen Klopp returns to Signal Iduna Park on Thursday for the first time since departing Dortmund last year when his former team host Liverpool in the Europa League.

Klopp ended a seven-year association with BVB during the off-season when he stepped down as head coach, before taking over the reins at Anfield four months later.

Tuchel has carried on the good work started by his compatriot; Dortmund are challenging Bayern for the Bundesliga title this term and find themselves just five points behind their arch-rivals in second place with six games remaining.

Tuchel's side saw off another Premier League outfit in Tottenham at the last-16 stage, recording a comfortable 3-0 win on home soil before triumphing 2-1 at White Hart Lane.

Dortmund are on a fine run of form, having gone unbeaten in their last 20 outings in all competitions, with their last defeat coming in October last year when they went down 2-1 at FC Koln.

Meanwhile, the Reds have not won since their 2-0 success over traditional foes Manchester United in the previous round of the competition and they enter this quarter-final, first-leg clash on the back of a three-match winless streak.

Klopp's men booked their place in the last eight with a 1-1 draw at United, which saw them progress 3-1 on aggregate. They then squandered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Southampton in the league before sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Spurs on Saturday.

In team news, the hosts are boosted by the return of three players. Mats Hummels, Sokratis and Ilkay Gundogan could come into contention after the trio rejoined the rest of the squad for training on Tuesday.

Midfielder Gundogan missed the two-legged affair against Spurs with a foot injury, while defender Hummels has shaken off a calf problem. Sokratis is back after missing the 3-2 win over Werder Bremen at the weekend with flu.

The visitors are sweating on the fitness of Roberto Firmino, who has made the trip to Germany but is doubtful with a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the last two games.

Fellow Brazilian Lucas is not expected to feature as the midfielder continues his recovery from a thigh problem, while Joe Gomez and Danny Ings remain long-term absentees.

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