Who Will Line Up Versus the Blues?
Liverpool will be looking to the top of the Premier League table, as they host Everton in the Merseyside Derby on Saturday. Jurgen Klopp will undoubtedly be a bit frustrated following the international break, which saw the likes of Andy Robertson, Ben Doak and Luke Chambers all pick up injuries.
Once again, the quick turn around in terms of kick-off time could mean that some of Klopp’s South American contingent could be considered as doubts for the clash. As it stands, Liverpool will be without Thiago Alcantara, Stefan Bajcetic, Andy Robertson, Cody Gakpo, Ben Doak and Luke Chambers, whilst Curtis Jones will miss the game through suspension.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the likely starting lineup ahead of the huge derby clash on Saturday.
Alisson Becker will undoubtedly play between the sticks for the Reds, as he will look to continue his world-class form at the moment. Despite being a late arrival from international duty, the keeper didn’t make an appearance for his country during the break.
At right-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold will likely return to the starting line-up in the Premier League for the first time since the 3-0 victory over Aston Villa in September. The 25-year-old put in a fantastic performance for England as an inverted full-back in the 1-0 victory over Australia in an international friendly.
At the heart of the defence, Virgil Van Dijk is nailed on to captain the side as a Merseyside Derby for the first time, but his partner is not such an easy option. Klopp has the choice of Ibou Konate, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip to partner the Dutchman, with the latter two remaining at the club throughout the international break.
However, despite that, I expect Konate to start in defence after his fantastic performances since returning from his injury last month. Due to the absence of both Andy Robertson and Luke Chambers, Klopp has very little choice but to play Kostas Tsimikas at left-back.
Verdict: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas
Perhaps the major talking point ahead of Klopp’s team selection is the midfield three, with a number of things to consider. At the base of the midfield, the German will have to choose between Wataru Endo and Alexis Mac Allister, with the latter returning from international duty quite late.
After the last international break, it was Mac Allister who started at Wolves, but was hooked at half-time after a poor performance. Therefore, I think that Klopp may lean towards giving Endo a rare start, which could also contribute to matching the physicality of Everton’s midfield with the likes of Abdoulaye Doucoure and Amadou Onana in fine form.
Ahead of Endo, Dominik Szoboszlai will definitely be selected in the starting lineup with either Harvey Elliott or Ryan Gravenberch. Gravenberch would be my choice after his fantastic start to his Reds career, giving Harvey Elliott the chance to influence the game from the bench which he has done so effectively this season.
Verdict: Endo, Szoboszlai, Gravenberch
Klopp is suddenly quite limited in terms of attacking options, following the injuries to Cody Gakpo and Ben Doak. Therefore, I think it’s pretty much nailed on that Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez, and Mohamed Salah will operate as the front three on Saturday.
The only potential talking point would be the possibility of Diogo Jota replacing one of the South American forwards in Diaz or Nunez. Harvey Elliott would also provide some sort of attacking option from the bench if needed.
Verdict: Salah, Nunez, Diaz
Starting XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Endo, Szoboszlai, Gravenberch, Salah, Nunez, Diaz. Bench: Kelleher, Gomez, Matip, Quansah, Mac Allister, Clark, Elliott, Jota, Frauendorf.