Jurgen Klopp is sweating on the fitness of some key players ahead of Monday’s grudge match with Man United, which could force the Liverpool boss into changing a settled and winning team.
With a prolonged 16-day buildup having cranked up anticipation to boiling point, Anfield hosts English football’s fiercest rivalry once again as Jose Mourinho’s United arrive on Merseyside.
Liverpool head into a mouthwatering clash filled with confidence, and Klopp’s side will look to use their winning momentum to earn another crucial victory as they attempt to pick up from where they left off prior to the international break.
Frustratingly, Klopp could be forced to alter his in-form team due to injuries, but the Reds boss has quality options and alternative setups to turn to as he looks to continue his positive record against Mourinho.
- Klopp sweating on fitness of key Reds ahead of crunch clash
- Injury doubts could tempt Klopp to change from 4-3-3 system as hinted
- Key midfielders Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum in race against time to be fit
- But Nathaniel Clyne and Dejan Lovren both fit to play and set to start
- Klopp facing decision over whether to start struggling Loris Karius or restore Simon Mignolet
- Emre Can, Lucas Leiva and Marko Grujic all hopeful of midfield starting berth if injuries dictate change
- Klopp could move Philippe Coutinho into deeper midfield role as at Swansea
- Daniel Sturridge could lead the line if injuries force Klopp to alter his XI
Liverpool’s XI vs. United
Everything with Klopp’s selection hinges on whether the injury doubts he is hopeful of making it in time to feature, do indeed recover.
The Reds boss said he will afford touch-and-go duo Lallana and Wijnaldum every chance to prove their fitness, and should they do so, they are likely to continue their starting roles in midfield.
With Klopp also sticking with long-term No. 1, Karius, over recalling Mignolet, this would give Liverpool a familiar looking XI and the same team that started the Swansea win:
However, Klopp may opt against risking the midfield pair, which would see two changes forthcoming.
Keeping with Karius and the same defence again, Klopp could introduce Can for his first league start of the season at the base of midfield.
This would allow Jordan Henderson to move into a box-to-box role alongside Coutinho, who can drop into a deeper, central position as seen at Swansea upon Lallana’s withdrawal.
Sturridge could then come in to lead the attack as he did when replacing Lallana at the Liberty Stadium, which would see the Reds line up like so:
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp hinted at possibly changing his formation to deal with United’s approach, which could see the Reds return to the 4-2-3-1 system heavily utilised in the 49-year-old’s opening period in charge.
Within this, the back five would again retain a consistent look, but Henderson and Can would resume their central midfield partnership for the first time this season.
Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino would then be able to play in support of Sturridge, which would see Liverpool line up like this:
Facing a United side still finding their feet under Mourinho, Klopp’s men must use the rapidly building belief and momentum to ensure the early-season surge continues with what would be a sweet victory.