Martin Demichelis Angel Di Maria Argentina
Martin Demichelis and Angel Di Maria attend a training session in Lima, October 5, 2016Reuters

One of the most exciting leagues in the world returns as the South American qualifiers resume with another full round of fixtures on Thursday. One of the big matches of the day will be Peru vs Argentina, who will look to regain the lead in the standings without their talisman Lionel Messi.

Argentina are currently third in the table, a point behind the leaders Uruguay, who have 16 points from eight matches. Argentina's biggest rivals Brazil are also on 15 points, so the Albiceleste will be wary of dropping any points in Lima.

Peru are a team that have struggled in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, having picked up just seven points from eight matches, so this will be a match that Argentina are expected to win, even without the injured Messi.

The Barcelona superstar is still recovering from a groin problem picked up in the La Liga match against Atletico Madrid last month, so the onus will be on the likes of Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Sergio Aguero to find the back of the net in the absence of their best player.

"It is a challenge not to have the best player there," Argentina manager Edgardo Bauza told reporters. "For the team, it is a challenge.

"It has happened and hopefully recovery can follow and we'll have him against Brazil and Colombia [next month]. The team are what we have worked with and are prepared to play without him."

Dybala is likely to take Messi's place in the starting lineup, and it remains to be seen how effective the Juventus man will be.

"We were aware of his (Messi's) absence a long time ago, beyond the relevance of the player and what he means, Argentina has other key players and we will need to be extremely focused on the match to beat them," Peru manager Ricardo Gareca told reporters.

Gareca knows his team must start picking up three points consistently, particularly at home, and the Peru manager has backed his team to go out and cause an upset.

"We have to plan a match against a tough team taking into account the quality of our players and the fans' support," Gareca added. "That's why we can beat Argentina.

"Argentina try to control all the matches they play and I think it will be the same in Lima, but we will try to neutralise that control."

Where to Watch Live

Peru vs Argentina is scheduled for a 9.15pm local time (10.15pm ET, 3.15am BST, 7.45am IST next day) start.

India: TV: Sony Six. Live Streaming: Sonyliv.

Peru: TV: Canal Movistar.

Argentina: TV: TYC Sports and Canal. Live Streaming: TYC Sports Play.

Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, France, Middle East, North Africa: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.