Planning Liverpool’s attack without Divock Origi for Europa League semi-final

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Liverpool are set to be without striker Divock Origi for the rest of the season, leaving Jurgen Klopp with fewer forward options over the final month of the season.

Though Klopp will publicly stress that he is taking things one game at a time at this crucial stage of the season, managers are always planning ahead – as seen with the wholesale changes made in recent fixtures.

With a home match with Newcastle United to come on Saturday afternoon, and the Reds’ next league outing away to Swansea City sandwiched between two Europa League semi-final legs against Villarreal, Klopp will manage his squad again over the next fortnight.

Though Liverpool still have a slim chance of a top-four finish in the league, success in the Europa League is clearly the priority.

Reaching the Europa League final without Origi will be a tougher task, with the 21-year-old central to the Reds’ progress from a quarter-final tie with Borussia Dortmund.

But Klopp is blessed with a number of in-form attacking options, and here’s how he can enjoy success in the next four games without Origi.

 

Liverpool vs. Newcastle, 23 April

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 6, 2015: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge looks dejected as Newcastle United score the second goal during the Premier League match at St. James' Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Without Origi, a tough test against Rafa Benitez’s relegation-battling Newcastle may require a start for Daniel Sturridge. He only played just under 50 minutes against Everton in midweek.

Klopp withdrew Roberto Firmino midway through the second half on Wednesday, leaving the Brazilian refreshed to operate in support of Sturridge against the Magpies.

Flanking his central pairing with youngsters Jordon Ibe and Sheyi Ojo would work, after the duo impressed at Bournemouth last weekend.

Liverpool’s Attack vs. Newcastle: Ojo, Firmino, Ibe; Sturridge

 

Villarreal vs. Liverpool, 28 April

DORTMUND, GERMANY - Wednesday, April 6, 2016: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino during a training session at Westfalenstadion ahead of the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 1st Leg match against Borussia Dortmund. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The semi-final first leg at Villarreal’s Estadio El Madrigal will prove an intimidating atmosphere for Liverpool, and with Marcelino’s side a formidable prospect, Klopp may opt for more solidity with a three-man midfield.

Needing his most hardworking forward three for this away clash, the German would be wise to field Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho in support of Firmino up front – the combination used in away wins at Man City and Chelsea earlier in the season.

This would allow for a compact midfield unit of Lucas Leiva, James Milner and Joe Allen, with Sturridge in reserve if the Reds need to push for an away goal.

Liverpool’s Attack vs. Villarreal Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino

 

Swansea City vs. Liverpool, 1 May

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 9, 2015: Liverpool's Christian Benteke in action against Stoke City during the Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As Klopp showed in making 10 changes for the trip to Bournemouth, he is willing to rotate his side to preserve his big-hitters for the more high-profile encounters.

With faith in his youth ranks, Klopp could turn to the likes of Danny Ward, Connor Randall and Kevin Stewart again for match at Swansea.

Resting Coutinho, Lallana, Firmino and Sturridge for the home leg against Villarreal days later, Klopp could hand fit-again Christian Benteke a rare start, with Ojo and Ibe’s delivery from the flanks able to take advantage of his aerial ability.

Liverpool’s Attack vs. Swansea: Ojo, Ibe, Benteke

 

Liverpool vs. Villarreal, 5 May

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 17, 2016: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge in action against Bournemouth during the FA Premier League match at Dean Court. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Hopefully having secured a result away to Villarreal at the end of April, welcoming the La Liga challengers to Anfield for the second leg should see Klopp go all out and push for a Europa League final against one of Sevilla and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Sitting out of the trip to Swansea, Klopp would be able to call upon Lallana, Firmino, Coutinho and Sturridge to operate in a fluid, attack-heavy 4-2-3-1.

Without Origi, this is Klopp’s best attacking line, and overloading the Villarreal back line—while still maintaining a strong shape when out of possession—Liverpool should be confident heading into their home leg.

Liverpool’s Attack vs. Villarreal: Lallana, Firmino, Coutinho; Sturridge

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