Jurgen Klopp will welcome Joel Matip back to his starting lineup against West Ham, but the Reds boss has some interesting decisions to make in midfield and attack.
Liverpool return to Anfield looking to bounce back to winning ways immediately after the 15-game unbeaten run came to a brutal end last weekend.
Momentum and belief has taken a dent following the Bournemouth collapse, but Liverpool have an ideal chance to respond positively over the next two games – starting against Slaven Bilic’s struggling Hammers who are winless in their last five matches.
Positivity is already flowing ahead of the clash with Klopp having been boosted by the availability of Sadio Mane and Matip, and the classy Cameroonian is poised to make an instant comeback to the starting XI.
- Similar squad to recent games available to Klopp
- Daniel Sturridge to miss out due to on-going calf injury
- Big boost comes with returning Matip who is set to replace Lucas at centre-back
- Sadio Mane also passed fit after overcoming minor knock
- Loris Karius to continue in goal after Klopp’s vote of confidence
- Decisions for Reds boss to make in midfield with strong options available
- Adam Lallana pushing for recall after substitute appearance at Bournemouth
- Same attacking trio likely to start with little alternative available currently
- Youngsters, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ovie Ejaria and Ben Woodburn hoping for involvement again
Liverpool’s XI vs. The Hammers
Injuries continue to deny Klopp the earlier plentiful options enjoyed, but he still has some strong lineups available.
One of these could see two changes made to the XI that started at Bournemouth – with the towering Matip replacing Lucas at the heart of defence and Lallana returning to midfield where he will provide crucial energy and control.
Lallana’s return would see Emre Can or Georginio Wijnaldum make way, and there is a case for both to be the one who drops out.
But facing the league’s second-worst defence and a side lacking belief, there perhaps isn’t a requirement for two defensively-focussed players in Can and Jordan Henderson.
Therefore Can should make way, with Lallana coming back in to reform what was the preferred trio earlier this season alongside Wijnaldum and the captain.
Sticking with the same front three, two alterations would see Liverpool look like this at Anfield:
However, with his side needing to produce a strong response, Klopp could change his approach.
Though defensive frailties of course proved the most costly factor to last week’s loss, the Reds lacked solidity and physicality in central areas, and energy in the final third, which Klopp could address by re-shaping his attack.
Within this, pressing trigger, Lallana, could move into attack – operating on the left, with Mane on the right – moving Firmino into the central striking role instead of Origi.
It would perhaps be harsh to drop the Belgian given his goal-scoring form, but the absence of a constant source of energy and movement that Firmino offers could come into Klopp’s thinking for a game in which Liverpool must be at full intensity from the start.
These changes would see Liverpool look like this on Sunday:
Sunday’s clash is all about producing a response for Liverpool, and they must ensure that it is positive to get the title charge back on track.