FC Midtjylland vs Liverpool Preview - Final group game presents opportunity for squad players to impress Klopp
Venue – Arena Herning, Herning
Referee – Francois Letexier (FRA)
Date & Time – Wednesday, December 9th 2020 @ 17:55
Current Odds – FC Midtjylland 5/2, Draw 14/5, Liverpool 1/1
With crowds gradually returning to games around Europe, it’s possible that Anfield could be in for some more memorable European nights between now and May. Wednesday evening, Liverpool have the opportunity to give some game-time to more of the fringe players in the squad.
The group is over, The Reds have won it. Now, let’s sign off in style with a win in Denmark.
FC Midtjylland Form
FC Midtjylland have one point from five games in this Champions League group. However, they gave a very good account of themselves at Anfield in October. Liverpool struggled to break them down and had to wait almost an hour for the first goal.
Last week, Brian Priske’s side earned an excellent point away to Atalanta, drawing 1-1. At the weekend, FC Midtjylland won 2-0 away to Vejle Boldklub to maintain a two-point lead at the top of the Danish Superliga, ahead of Brøndby, who have a game in hand.
Liverpool were fantastic on Sunday night, beating a very good Wolves side 4-0 at Anfield. That victory kept The Reds second in the league, behind Spurs on goal difference.
Jurgen Klopp’s Redmen have already won this Champions League group, losing just once en-route to picking up 12 points from a possible 15.
FC Midtjylland Team News
FC Midtjylland are without Oliver Olsen and Kristan Riis due to injury. Jens Causte is also unavailable due to a recent positive test result for COVID-19.
Erik Sviatchenko is available again for Brian Priske, returning from the suspension that kept him out of last week’s very credible 1-1 draw in Atalanta.
Liverpool Team News
Well, this starting eleven should be fun to predict…
Liverpool won the group with their 1-0 win over Ajax last week, meaning that this fixture is one of the rare opportunities Jürgen Klopp will get this month to rest any key players that are still fit.
The Reds are currently without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Alisson Becker, Xherdan Shaqiri, Thiago Alcântara, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner.
Both Naby Keïta and Trent Alexander-Arnold returned to training last week and came on in the second half of the Wolves game on Sunday night. They may get some more minutes in Denmark to aid their return to full fitness.
Klopp is likely to give Caoimhin Kelleher another start in goal for Liverpool.
Neco Williams and Kostas Tsimikas will probably be the full-backs and I expect Rhys Williams to start at centre-half. Klopp’s first big decision will be deciding who to pair with Rhys Williams in the middle of the back four. I think he will pick Fabinho as playing Rhys beside another youngster like Billy Koumetio would not be fair on either of them. There needs to be at least one experienced head in there. Also, Nathaniel Phillips is not registered for the group stages of the Champions League so he’s not an option. Fabinho could start and be replaced at half-time or after 60 minutes by Joël Matip, or vice-versa.
If Klopp goes with a 4-3-3 formation, Curtis Jones and KeÏta should start in midfield with Jordan Henderson. Expect Henderson to come off for Gini Wijnaldum then around the hour mark.
I think Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino will both get the nod in attack for Liverpool meaning Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino could all be rested.
FC Midtjylland XI (5-4-1) – Hansen; Andersson, Høegh, Sviatchenko, Scholz, Paulinho; Dreyer, Anderson, Onyeka, Mabil; Kaba
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Kelleher; Williams N, Williams R, Fabinho, Tsimikas; Henderson, Jones, Keïta; Jota, Minamino, Origi
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool won 2-0 when the sides met at Anfield in late October. The Reds needed second-half goals from Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah to see off the Danish side.
That game was the first meeting between the clubs in a competitive fixture.
FC MIDTJYLLAND 1 – 2 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool roared back into form on Sunday night and, even though it will be a much-changed starting eleven in Denmark, I think The Reds will take another three points from this game. It certainly won’t be easy, as FC Midtjylland showed in the match at Anfield in October. However, there is a hunger in this Liverpool squad that just never seems to be sated.