The Reds kick-off their tough Christmas schedule with a trip to Goodison Park for what promises to be an electric first Merseyside derby showdown of the season.
Both teams arrive buoyed by midweek successes and following that return to winning ways at Middlesbrough, Liverpool look to continue building vital momentum to sustain their title charge in a tricky period with victory over Ronald Koeman’s men.
Klopp’s options throughout the team remain frustratingly limited for his maiden Goodison Park trip, but the German could receive a timely boost if the likes of Joel Matip, Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge prove their fitness enough to be involved.
- Klopp hopeful of being boosted by some much-needed injury returnees
- Emre Can in “a pretty good way” and will be involved if training goes smoothly
- Daniel Sturridge closing in on comeback from calf issue and “if he’s available, he’ll be involved.”
- But Joel Matip doubtful with defender still struggling with ankle issue
- Klopp could be forced to name unchanged team from Middlesbrough win
- Simon Mignolet to keep starting place after impressive display at Riverside Stadium
- Ragnar Klavan poised to deputise at centre-back if Matip fails to recover
- Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana primed to continue as midfield unit at Goodison Park
Liverpool’s XI vs. The Blues
Klopp continues to see his options restricted in all departments, which again makes his selection relatively straightforward for a crunch derby game.
The Reds boss has been boosted slightly with the possible returns of Can and Sturridge, but it is likely both will only be fit enough for the bench, while Matip seems the least likely to be involved altogether at Goodison Park.
The trio, or even just Can and Sturridge, would add desperately needed strength to Klopp’s substitutes, but the starting XI is likely to remain untouched from the Middlesbrough win.
Klopp is set to afford those returning absentees every chance to prove their fitness however, and if they do, his options suddenly look a lot stronger.
The boss has sprung some selection surprises this season, and if it was a case that he was keeping cards close to his chest and the likes of Matip, Can and Sturridge could feature, changes may arrive.
The most likely of these would see defensive leader, Matip take back over from Klavan at the heart of defence.
Meanwhile, for what will be a fiercely competitive and physical contest, Klopp may reintroduce Can into midfield for his size, presence and engine.
A tough call comes as to who makes way, but with Henderson and Lallana among the first names on the teamsheet, it would likely be Wijnaldum that drops out, offering an impactful option from the bench.
Two changes, if fitness and injuries allow, would see Liverpool look like this:
Having breezed past Middlesbrough in impressive fashion, the Reds must step up another level at Goodison Park to earn what would be a huge three points and make for the perfect Christmas gift.