Liverpool’s Pivotal Match Against Manchester City
Liverpool are currently preparing for their biggest clash of the season so far, as they travel to face Manchester City on Saturday afternoon.
Potential Leap to the Top of the Table A victory for the Reds would send them to the top of the table, currently sitting just one point behind the league leaders.
Assessing the Defence Line-Up
Jurgen Klopp has a lot of decisions to make ahead of the game, enhanced by the late returns of the South American contingent of the Liverpool squad. Today, we predict Klopp’s starting XI for the game. Alisson Becker will certainly start in goal, after two solid performances for Brazil during the international break. At right-back, I think Klopp will opt for Joe Gomez and instead use Trent Alexander-Arnold in the midfield. Klopp will likely choose Gomez for his strong defensive ability, especially against the in-form Jeremy Doku. The captain, Virgil Van Dijk, will likely be partnered by Ibou Konate, with his physical strength and pace potentially crucial in containing Erling Haaland. Finally, Kostas Tsimikas is almost certain to start at left-back after returning from international duty early to prepare for this game.
Midfield Formation and Flexibility
I believe Klopp may adopt a 4-4-2 formation, similar to what was used against Brighton a few weeks ago. However, the midfield four will be much more flexible, capable of either stretching or narrowing the pitch, while also rotating into a more familiar 4-3-3 if necessary. The central two in the midfield will likely be Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai. However, Curtis Jones could definitely feature, considering Mac Allister’s poor performance after the last international break. On the right of the midfield would be Trent Alexander-Arnold, who can either come in narrow to pack the midfield or stay wide to support Gomez against Doku. Luis Diaz would be my choice on the left-hand side due to his impressive recent form for club and country. The Colombian provides flexibility in terms of formation and is also a hard-working player who can help out defensively. Curtis Jones, Ryan Gravenberch, and Wataru Endo could all provide support from the bench.
Choosing the Attacking Duo
In terms of selecting the two forwards, I think it’s a fairly straightforward choice for Klopp. Mohamed Salah will likely line up more centrally alongside Darwin Nunez, providing an abundance of pace and creativity going forward. The two forwards are striking a brilliant partnership, and I think they are the best combination of forwards at the club. Diogo Jota may feel unfortunate to miss out due to his fantastic recent form, but would just miss out due to the needs of the system. However, Jota and Cody Gakpo could prove to be real game-changers from the bench.
Predicted Starting XI and Bench Strength
- Defence: Alisson, Gomez, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas
- Midfield: Alexander-Arnold, Szoboszlai, Mac Allister, Diaz
- Attack: Salah, Nunez
- Bench: Kelleher, Matip, Quansah, Endo, Jones, Gravenberch, Gakpo, Jota, Doak