LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 13, 2016: Liverpool's Joe Allen celebrates scoring the third equalising goal against Arsenal during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Allen and Benteke pushing for starts – Predicting Liverpool’s XI vs. Sunderland

We take a look at how Jurgen Klopp could line up his Liverpool side for Saturday’s clash against struggling Sunderland.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 25, 2016: Liverpool players lined up for penalties during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg match against Stoke City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds begin playing for pride against Sam Allardyce’s relegation threatened Mackems at Anfield, after all hopes of a top four finish were ended following defeat to Leicester.

The Premier League is now bottom of Liverpool’s priorities and with the cup competitions now of more importance to salvage what is shaping into a miserable season, Klopp could reflect that by altering his team selection stance for the game.


Team News

  • Klopp to have similar group at his disposal again
  • Skrtel “re-injured” and facing a further 2-3 weeks out
  • But Reds boss boosted by training returns of Coutinho, Origi & Sturridge
  • Saturday too early for the trio to feature but West Ham cup tie a possibility
  • Allen to be assessed after minor shoulder injury
  • Klopp could deploy similar team to Leicester loss
  • But with important cup game next he could make changes
  • Smith and Flanagan options to replace struggling Moreno
  • Allen could start if fit with midfield needing change
  • Ibe an option to enter the attack
  • Benteke could come in with Reds struggling for goals


Liverpool’s XI

With his options still limited to a degree, Klopp could stick with the same side that started Tuesday’s loss, allowing the same XI to take responsibility for a poor showing and respond with a much improved performance.

Sticking with the team from the midweek defeat would see the Reds line up like this on Saturday afternoon:

Sunderland XI 1

Despite being restricted in his ability to make changes, Klopp could still make a few with little to lose and everything to gain.

Alberto Moreno’s recent struggle for form could see Brad Smith handed a first Premier League start, and after numerous sluggish midfield displays, Allen could make a welcome return, bringing his energy and control to the middle of the park.

Without a goal since smashing five past Norwich three games ago and a physical battle ahead, the Reds boss could start Christian Benteke, who netted the winner when the Reds met Sunderland in December.

Those changes could see Liverpool line up like this at Anfield:

Sunderland XI 2

The league campaign is done and dusted for the Reds, but the team must begin to reverse the damage with a small but positive step and three points on Saturday.