Jurgen Klopp has some big decisions to make this Sunday as he gets the mighty redmen geared up to face Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Let’s take a rational look at what could be the starting lineup for this epic clash as The Reds try to stay on course for a first league title win in 29 years.
In goals, it’s going to be Alisson. The Brazilian international goalkeeper gave us all some nervy moments with the ball at his feet against FC Bayern on Tuesday. He made some big saves, of course, but the sooner he can learn to simply put his boot through the ball when under pressure at the back, the better. Yes, we value possession and he doesn’t want to just give the ball away but surely launching it out of the danger-zone is a better option than letting the opposing team’s striker take it off you and pass it into an empty net? There were a couple of occasions against Bayern Munich when it really looked like Alisson had cost us but we just about escaped.
In defence, there has been some talk of Klopp actually preferring Fabinho ahead of Joel Matip at centre-half alongside Virgil van Dijk. I don’t buy it, however. Fabinho was fantastic there against FC Bayern but I think Klopp will start the Brazilian just in front of a central-defensive pairing of Matip and Van Dijk.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson will take their usual places on the flanks. Alexander-Arnold had a tough afternoon on his last visit to Old Trafford with United’s Marcus Rashford running him ragged and bagging two goals. The young right-back will be itching to set things straight on Sunday.
Andy Robertson had a very poor game against Bayern Munich with Serge Gnabry beating him on several occasions down the line. The Scottish international’s delivery was also poor when going forward so Robertson will know he needs to up his game for Sunday.
Midfield is where Klopp has the toughest choices to make. He has to select a trio from Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum. I expect Xherdan Shaqiri to be used as an impact sub as he was, to great effect, when he came on to score twice in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over United at Anfield.
I think Klopp will select Fabinho in the defensive-midfielder role with Wijnaldum and Keita alongside him to make up the midfield three. Milner, Henderson, Shaqiri and Adam Lallana will all be options from the bench.
Up front, it’s business as usual for the main men. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané will be tasked with unlocking United’s defence.
Predicted XI v United (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk(c), Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mané
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