Enforced changes for Klopp, Firmino to return – Predicting Liverpool’s XI vs. Stoke

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Liverpool face Stoke on Sunday afternoon and we take a look at how Jurgen Klopp could line up his side against the Potters.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 25, 2016: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino in action against Stoke City's Bojan Krkic during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds host Mark Hughes’ Potters for the second time this season as Klopp’s side return to Premier League action at Anfield.

Though a fixture of little importance for Liverpool, the Reds will look to build on the excellent Europa League first-leg draw earned in Dortmund to instil further confidence throughout the squad ahead of the all-important Merseyside return on Thursday night.

With that crucial second-leg in mind, Klopp has an interesting selection on his hands with the need to balance remaining competitive with preserving key men for BVB’s impending arrival, and the boss is set to make changes to his team.

Team News

DORTMUND, GERMANY - Thursday, April 7, 2016: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson is treated by physiotherapist Chris Morgan for an injury during the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 1st Leg match against Borussia Dortmund at Westfalenstadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Klopp to make changes vs. Stoke with Dortmund priority
  • Reds to train Saturday afternoon when Klopp confirmed selection decisions will be made
  • Henderson ruled out for the rest of season with knee injury suffered in Germany
  • Emre Can also out serving first of two game ban giving Klopp midfield crisis
  • Allen set to come in to join stand-in skipper Milner
  • Lucas and Kevin Stewart also available after injury recoveries
  • Options available to make defensive changes if required
  • Flanagan could deputise for Clyne or Moreno
  • Toure and Skrtel available if Lovren or Sakho are rested
  • Klopp likely to freshen up attack with options available
  • Ibe available to play wide
  • Firmino in line to start after return to fitness
  • Sturridge could lead attack in place of Origi
Liverpool’s XI

DORTMUND, GERMANY - Thursday, April 7, 2016: Liverpool's Divock Origi is replaced by substitute Daniel Sturridge against Borussia Dortmund during the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 1st Leg match at Westfalenstadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Changes are to be forthcoming with Klopp to select the freshest team possible, but a strong XI is still set to be named.

The Reds boss could pick the usual back four after a solid showing in midweek, but with Henderson and Can unavailable, Milner and Allen could make up the central partnership in a return to the 4-2-3-1 formation.

With fresh legs to offer, Firmino should start alongside Lallana and Coutinho, with Sturridge entering in place of Origi to lead the line.

Those changes to shape and personnel could see the Reds line up like this at Anfield:

Stoke XI 4-2-3-1

With the Dortmund second-leg of unrivalled importance, Klopp could make more changes.

Flanagan’s availability could see him come in at full-back – for Moreno with Clyne switching to the left – while Lucas’ return could see him come in to make a three man centre alongside Milner and Allen, should Klopp deploy the 4-3-3 formation again.

Doing so would allow Coutinho a rest, with Lallana and Origi joined by Firmino, keeping Sturridge fresh to blitz Dortmund on Thursday.

A changed but strong Liverpool would then look like this come 4pm kick off time on Sunday afternoon:

Stoke XI 4-3-3

Though not a vital game for the Reds on Sunday afternoon, a victory would be most welcome to provide belief ahead of Thursday’s crunch clash with Thomas Tuchel’s side.

PICK YOUR XI:

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