Lallana in attack or Klopp to spring a surprise? – Predicting Liverpool’s XI vs. Chelsea

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Jurgen Klopp will restore his first choice picks for Tuesday’s crucial clash with Chelsea, and he may be tempted to change his side’s formation in attempt to spark an upturn in fortunes.

Liverpool attempt to end a dire season-shaping period by resurrecting their Premier League push with victory against Antonio Conte’s league leaders.

Klopp’s side are in desperate need of a win to rescue a campaign on the verge of collapse, and failure to earn maximum points would leave the Reds facing a battle to hang on to a top-four place for the remainder of the season.

The Reds will return to their strongest possible side – which should see fit-again Adam Lallana start with much-missed Sadio Mane potentially returning to the bench. Could Klopp deploy his team in a new-look formation?

 

Team News

  • Klopp to restore key players after FA Cup rotation
  • Adam Lallana fit after minor injury and set for starting XI place
  • Roberto Firmino clear to play after court hearing for drink-driving charge rescheduled
  • Klopp to decide on Mane’s involvement after delayed return from AFCON duty
  • Klopp could switch formation in attempt to inspire upturn in form
  • Usual defence and midfield options available with no fresh injury concerns

 

Liverpool’s XI vs. The Blues

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 21, 2017: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the first goal against Swansea City, with team-mate Adam Lallana, to pull a goal back and make the score 1-2 during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool are primed to boast a familiar look to recent key games, with Clyne likely to be sidelined and Mane not ready for a starting role.

Klopp seems set to keep faith with the usual 4-3-3 set-up at Anfield, where Matip, Lovren and Milner are likely to be joined in defence by deputy right-back, Alexander-Arnold.

An element of flexibility is available in midfield and attack, but the continued struggles of Sturridge and Origi make Klopp’s remaining selection a relatively straightforward procedure.

With neither striker currently worthy of a starting role, Lallana, Coutinho and Firmino seem certain to spearhead the Reds, which will therefore see Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum make up the midfield.

Liverpool’s continued struggles could tempt Klopp into adjusting not only personnel, but formation too as he looks to spark his side back to life.

The Reds’ FA Cup loss to Wolves saw a second-half shape switch to 3-1-4-2, and Klopp could deploy this from the start to match up and stifle Conte’s men, as TIA’s James Nalton suggested could be a wise move.

In a slightly reshuffled 3-4-2-1 shape, Matip and Lovren could form the three-man backline with Gomez, whose experience at full-back combined with his composure and athleticism make him ideal for the role.

Meanwhile, a four-man midfield could see Milner switch to the right, Alberto Moreno enter to offer a pacey outlet on the left, with Henderson and Can as the central pairing.

Klopp’s preferred attacking trio would be able to continue in attack, with Lallana and Coutinho supporting Firmino, which would see Liverpool’s XI look like this:

Tuesday’s game is the definition of ‘win-or-bust’ for the Reds, and they must battle through their disappointing run to earn a morale-boosting victory that would reignite dreams of league success.

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