Gonzalo Higuain is suspended for the match as the result of yellow card accumulation, thanks to the petulantly-earned booking he received against Palermo last weekend. Fortunately it was always likely that Duvan Zapata was going to start this match anyways, what with it being the meat in a Europa League sandwich. Still, not even having him available off the bench will give Rafa Benitez some tough choices to make as far as which two of Manolo Gabbiadini, Jose Callejon, Dries Mertens, and Jonathan De Guzman to start out wide and who to keep on the bench in reserve.
There's some good news, though: after missing a month with a muscular issue following the Coppa Italia match against Udinese, Giandomenico Mesto has finally returned to health and availability. Having the veteran Italian fullback back in the fold gives Rafa more options as far as who to rest and how to employ his bench, and that's never a bad thing during a congested run of matches.
The full 21 man matchday squad is listed below for your perusal.
Goalkeepers: Rafael Cabral, Mariano Andujar, Roberto Colombo
Defenders: Christian Maggio, Giandomenio Mesto, Miguel Britos, Faouzi Ghoulam, Ivan Strinic, Raul Albiol, Henrique Buss, Kalidou Koulibaly
Midfielders: Walter Gargano, Jorginho, David Lopez, Gokhan Inler, Marek Hamsik, Dries Mertens, Jonathan De Guzman
Forwards: Manolo Gabbiadini, Jose Callejon, Duvan Zapata