FA Cup Clash: Arsenal vs Liverpool
Whilst Liverpool’s hunt for trophies is well underway in every other competition this season, the Reds begin their FA Cup campaign at Arsenal.
Form Guide: Liverpool’s Unbeaten Streak vs Arsenal’s Struggles
Jurgen Klopp’s men come into this game in fantastic form, unbeaten in their last 18 domestic games.
In contrast, Arsenal come into this one in a completely different run of form, with just one win in their last six games across all competitions.
Since drawing 1-1 against Liverpool at Anfield, the Gunners have suffered back-to-back defeats to West Ham United and Fulham.
Liverpool’s Injury Woes
However, Jurgen Klopp has a long list of absences ahead of the game with Andy Robertson, Kostas Tsimikas, Joel Matip, Wataru Endo, Stefan Bajcetic, Thiago Alcantara, Dominik Szoboszlai and Mohamed Salah missing.
Predicted Liverpool Starting XI
But today we’re going to be predicting Liverpool’s starting XI ahead of Sunday’s game.
At the Back
In defence, I think Alisson Becker will actually remain in between the sticks, despite Caoimhin Kelleher predominantly being labelled as Klopp’s “cup keeper”.
With just two games in the next two weeks, I think Klopp will stick with a strong squad for this one with Virgil Van Dijk and Ibou Konate likely to partner each other at the heart of the defence.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez are pretty much nailed on to start at full-back, due to the injuries to Kostas Tsimikas and Andy Robertson.
You can expect to see a few young defenders on the bench on Sunday, such as Jarrell Quansah and Conor Bradley.
Verdict: Defensive Line-Up
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Gomez
In the Engine Room
With the absence of Endo and Szoboszlai, Klopp doesn’t have much choice in terms of midfielders.
Alexis Mac Allister will likely return to the starting XI for the first time since picking up an injury in the 2-0 victory over Sheffield United in December.
Ahead of him will likely be Ryan Gravenberch on the left-hand side of the midfield three and Curtis Jones on the right.
The latter of those names being bizarrely linked with a summer move to Arsenal, but will hopefully show them what they can’t have on Sunday.
Verdict: Midfield Trio
Mac Allister, Gravenberch, Jones
The Front Line
Last time Mohamed Salah wasn’t included in Liverpool’s starting XI was in the 5-1 demolition of West Ham United in the Carabao Cup Quarter-Final.
On that night, it was a front three of Harvey Elliott, Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez but I think there could be a slight tweak to that front three.
I think Harvey Elliott will start on the right-hand side of the front three, with Cody Gakpo being deployed centrally.
However, I think Diogo Jota may start on the left-hand side and will be determined to increase his impressive tally against the Gunners.
Having Cody Gakpo in a central position could also play a huge part in limiting the amount of space that Declan Rice has when Arsenal try to play put from the back.
Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz will provide a massive boost from the bench, with bags of energy to put the Arsenal defence under some serious pressure.
Verdict: Attacking Formation
Elliott, Gakpo, Jota
Final Line-Up Prediction
Starting XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Gomez, Mac Allister, Gravenberch, Jones, Elliott, Gakpo, Jota
Bench: Kelleher, Quansah, Bradley, Chambers, McConnell, Clark, Diaz, Nunez, Gordon.