Liverpool travel to Villa Park tonight as they prepare to face Dean Smith’s Aston Villa in the third round of the FA Cup.
Jürgen Klopp is likely to field a much-changed side for The Reds as some youth talent and squad players are given the opportunity to showcase their talents in a push towards the first team.
It is the ideal time for some of Liverpool’s stars to be rested after some jaded-looking Premier League outings in recent weeks.
Caoimhin Kelleher should start in goal for Liverpool in this game. The Irish shot-stopper impressed in early December when deputising for the injured Alisson, he played three consecutive games for Klopp’s men, conceding just one goal.
Neco Williams will probably come in at right-back. It’s another chance for the young defender to continue his development at a more appropriate pace after he was thrust into the limelight earlier this season after so many injuries to senior players.
Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams may start as a centre-back pairing for this one. Andy Robertson will surely be given a ‘rest’ so James Milner may start at left-back.
Klopp could start Thiago Alcântara as the process of his rehabilitation to 100% fitness and match-speed continues. Expect Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to also start in midfield alongside Thiago.
I would be very surprised to see either Jordan Henderson or Gini Wijnaldum in the starting eleven on Friday. Both players need a break after putting in heroic efforts for The Reds so far this season.
I think Klopp’s front three will be Xherdan Shaqiri, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi, meaning the main guys – Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané – will be rested.
Predicted Liverpool lineup (4-3-3) vs Aston Villa: Kelleher; Williams N, Phillips, Williams R, Milner; Thiago, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Shaqiri, Minamino, Origi
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