LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 25, 2015: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and Dejan Lovren during a press conference at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match against FC Girondins de Bordeaux. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Lovren to return, Coutinho or Sturridge to start? – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Chelsea

Jurgen Klopp has some big selection decisions to make with his team, especially in attack, for Liverpool’s trip to Chelsea on Friday night.

The Reds’ tough opening to the Premier League campaign continues with a trip to Stamford Bridge for Liverpool’s first Friday night clash of the season.

Klopp’s side arrive in west London in confident mood after blitzing champions, Leicester, and Liverpool’s boss will want his side to replicate the intensity and electric speed of play that proved too much for the title-holders against Antonio Conte’s men.

Whether Klopp keeps faith with the same attacking lineup to produce the goods once again in the capital is the big question, with some tough calls facing the German as he revisits the venue of his first Premier League victory.

Team News

  • Strong squad available for Klopp who faces big decision with attacking selection
  • Emre Can to miss out with German needing more training time after ankle injury
  • Dejan Lovren available after eye injury and set for return
  • Lucas likely to make way for returning Croatian to partner Joel Matip
  • Henderson set to continue defensive-midfield role behind Wijnaldum and Lallana
  • Klopp could name unchanged attack in Mane, Firmino & Sturridge
  • But Philippe Coutinho fit and hopeful of starting berth
  • Brazilian could enter on the left with Firmino replacing Sturridge up front

Liverpool’s XI vs. Chelsea

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 31, 2015: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the first equalising goal against Chelsea with team-mate Roberto Firmino by kissing the match-ball in the third minute of injury time of the first half during the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Dismantling the champions so emphatically at Anfield, Klopp could stick as closely as possible to the same team in search for a similar display.

One change to that XI is likely to come with Lovren replacing Lucas, but aside from the defensive swap the rest of the team could remain, with Henderson, Wijnaldum and Lallana again forming the midfield.

This would see Klopp make a big call to adopt a different approach to his usual big away clash set-up – with Coutinho, who hailed last Saturday’s “virtually perfect” attacking performance, to continue on the bench, leaving Firmino operating in his compatriots left-side role and Sturridge to lead the line.

One change to the XI would see the Reds start like this on Friday:

Chelsea XI 1

Sticking with the same again could prove tempting after a spectacular display, but Klopp could revert to his tried and tested system with its proven success.

Providing the catalyst for previous big away victories including at Stamford Bridge and most recently at Arsenal – the prior successes could feature heavily in Klopp’s crunch decision to return to the energetic but free-roaming attacking set-up.

With Mane continuing on the right, Coutinho would of course comeback into his left-side role, which would see the hard-working, tenacious and in-form Firmino move to the striking position and Sturridge drop to the bench.

A reshuffled selection but familiar look would see Liverpool’s XI lineup like so:

Chelsea XI 2

A tough game awaits Klopp’s men against Conte’s Blues, but full of confidence and in positive form, a second straight Stamford Bridge success is more than achievable for the Reds.

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