Klopp’s Selection Dilemma Before Europa Clash
Jurgen Klopp is set to face serious selection headache ahead of Liverpool’s Europa League clash with Union Saint-Gilloise.
Following the fallout of a disastrous away defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, Klopp will have a lot to consider in order to keep players’ minutes balanced.
Both Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota received debatable red cards in that game and will therefore serve a three-game and one-game domestic ban respectively.
This means that Jones will miss Liverpool’s games against Brighton, Everton and Nottingham Forest whereas Jota will just miss the Reds’ trip to the South Coast on Sunday.
With that being said, both players remain available for selection for the European clash on Thursday night and are both expected to start the game.
Therefore, we’re going to take a look at some of the key talking points for Jurgen Klopp to consider ahead of the game.
Caomhin Kelleher will almost certainly come back into the starting lineup after two solid performances against LASK and Leicester City already this season.
Ahead of him, Kostas Tsimikas is almost nailed on to start the game on the left-hand side of defence, whilst I suspect Jarrell Quansah will get another start in the heart of the defence after his fantastic performance against Leicester City last week.
Alongside Quansah, I expect Joel Matip to start alongside him as he looks to put his stoppage time own-goal from the weekend behind him.
Joe Gomez or Trent Alexander-Arnold?
The first key talking point in my opinion, is whether Klopp will finally give some minutes to Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back.
The 24-year-old came on as a late substitute in the defeat to Tottenham at the weekend, but has barely featured since picking up a hamstring injury in the 3-0 victory over Aston Villa.
I actually think that Klopp may give Alexander-Arnold 60 minutes in this one, to get him up to speed before potentially starting against Brighton on Sunday.
Verdict: Trent Alexander-Arnold
I expect to see Wataru Endo deployed at the base of Klopp’s midfield on Thursday, following on from his fantastic performance against Leicester City last week.
Furthemore, Harvey Elliott is also expected to start in Klopp’s midfield after a phenomenal start to the season from the 20-year-old.
Curtis Jones or Ryan Gravenberch?
If Curtis Jones hadn’t have been sent off against Tottenham Hotspur, then Ryan Gravenberch would’ve been one of the first names on the team sheet for this game.
However, with Jones banned for the next three domestic games it has become even more important to give him minutes in the European games.
With Gravenberch expected to start against Brighton on Sunday, I would lean more towards Jones starting this one.
Verdict: Curtis Jones
I personally think that the front three is perhaps the most simple decision for Klopp to make ahead of Thursday’s game.
Diogo Jota will definitely start the game and likely play the whole 90 minutes, due to his suspension for Sunday’s game at Brighton.
Cody Gakpo picked up an injury against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, meaning he will miss both the Union Saint-Gilloise and the Brighton game this week.
Therefore, Darwin Nunez will start as the number nine after not featuring at all against Spurs at the weekend.
Finally, I expect to see Ben Doak start on the right-wing just like against both LASK and Leicester City.
The only possible talking point for me would be potentially Harvey Elliott starting out on the right, meaning Ryan Gravenberch could come into the midfield three.
Starting XI: Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Quansah, Tsimikas, Endo, Jones, Elliott, Doak, Nunez, Jota.
Bench: Alisson, Jaros, Gomez, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson, Bajcetic, Mac Allister, Gravenberch, Szoboszlai, Salah, Diaz.