Klopp’s Reds look to build on Boxing Day’s confidence boosting win over Leicester with a second successive victory against Sam Allardyce’s relegation threatened Mackems.
With the game the second in quick succession and an unrelenting schedule thereafter, the German boss has a tricky selection on his hands for the Stadium of Light trip with the need to ensure a vital three points is won while keeping players and performance as fresh as possible – especailly with the ridiculous TV scheduling meaning the trip to West Ham just three days later, in the early kick-off.
- Skrtel still unavailable due to hamstring injury
- Origi ruled out after hamstring injury sustained vs. Leicester
- Milner still “a week” away from being available to return
- Sturridge improving but won’t be included with the striker needing to prove fitness
- Ibe available for selection after return from illness
- Lovren–Sakho to continue partnership at centre back
- Benteke in line to start after goal scoring impact on Boxing Day
- Lucas and Allen options to bring in should Klopp rotate
With options somewhat limited for Klopp and the chance to build some consistency, the German is unlikely to make too many changes to his side.
Keeping with the same shape, Klopp could name the same back four and midfield unit, with the only changes seeing Lallana, Coutinho and Firmino playing in support of Benteke instead of the injured Origi.
Making only one change would see the Reds line up like this on Wednesday night:
However, Klopp could choose to adjust system and personnel slightly for the north east clash.
Retaining the same back five once again, Klopp could change formation and introduce Lucas to the midfield, with the Brazilian able to offer an extra solidity alongside Henderson and Can for what will be physical battle against Allardyce’s side.
That in turn should see the out-of-form Lallana drop to the bench, leaving Brazilian duo Coutinho and Firmino to play in support of Benteke who should be trusted to lead the line following his goal and productive talks with Klopp.
Those changes would see the Reds line up looking like this come kick-off time at the Stadium of Light:
As the Reds look to claw back the growing gap between themselves and fourth place, games against lesser and struggling sides like Sunderland simply must yield three points.
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