We take a look at how Jurgen Klopp could line his team up as Liverpool return to Premier League action against Leicester City on Saturday evening.
With the first international disruption of the season out of the way, the Reds host Claudio Ranieri’s title-winners in the long-awaited opening home clash of the season.
The maiden game to be played in front of the redeveloped Main Stand at an expanded Anfield, a special occasion awaits Klopp’s men who look to mark the fixture with maximum points in front of the biggest crowd at the historic stadium since 1977.
A performance to match the occasion will be needed against the title-holders, and Klopp has a strong squad available as he looks for his side to use the increased “power” of Anfield to make a winning return to the Premier League stage.
- Strong Reds squad available but defensive options light for Klopp
- Emre Can ruled out through ankle injury but closing in on training return
- Ragnar Klavan also missing with knee injury worsened during international break
- Loris Karius closing in on comeback but Saturday may be too early
- Sadio Mane declared fit and set to start on Anfield debut
- Philippe Coutinho available after returning from long-distance international trip
- Joel Matip set for home debut and in line to continue alongside Dejan Lovren
- Jordan Henderson poised to resume defensive-midfield role
- Decisions for Klopp to make over who leads attack
- Roberto Firmino could spearhead the front line again
- But Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi both pushing for starts
Having seen his side produce an impressive display at White Hart Lane last time out, Klopp could name an unchanged team in search for more of the same.
Allowing for consistency to be developed with a settled team, the composed Matip would make his Anfield debut alongside Lovren, with fellow home debutant Georginio Wijnaldum making up the midfield with Adam Lallana, leaving Henderson sat deeper.
Mane, Coutinho and Firmino would then form the attack, giving Klopp a team that would retain explosiveness, creativity and industry from back to front.
Keeping faith with the same lineup would see Liverpool look like this:
Klopp revealed this week that special arrangements had been made to fast-track Coutinho’s return home from international activity, but the Brazilian still arrived back on Merseyside relatively late, on Thursday morning.
This gives Klopp something to think about, with Coutinho potentially lacking adequate recovery and training time, which could see the boss adjust his forward line, with Sturridge and Origi both fresh and available.
Against Leicester’s deep-sitting defence, Sturridge could get the nod—keeping Origi in reserve as an explosive impact option—with Firmino moving to the left and Mane playing from the right.
Liverpool’s first lineup at a new-look Anfield would therefore be:
The Reds have a solid record when facing the league winners at Anfield in recent years, and they must add to that on Saturday to ensure the three important points stay on Merseyside.