Jurgen Klopp is set to restore Liverpool to full strength against West Brom on Sunday, but the boss has a key decision to make over his formation.
Refreshed following a much-needed week of rest, Liverpool resume the push for a top-four finish against the Baggies.
The Reds came through a testing three-game week with a pleasing seven points, and having enjoyed a full seven days to prepare for the Hawthorns trip, Klopp’s reenergised team will be confident of extending the positive run.
Klopp is still without Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson as he returns to his strongest lineup, but the big question for the German is whether to stick with a three-man defence or reinstate his preferred 4-3-3 formation.
Here’s how the Liverpool squad is shaping up ahead of another crucial away clash.
- Same squad at Jurgen Klopp’s disposal with key absentees still missing
- Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson are “better, but not good enough for the weekend”
- Klopp to restore strongest team after rotated selection at Stoke
- Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino to start after Stoke rescue act
- Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn likely to drop back to bench
- Klopp facing big decision with formation and tactical setup
- Reds boss could stick with three-man defence but personnel available to revert to 4-3-3
- Divock Origi primed to lead attack again
- But Daniel Sturridge in contention after bright cameo in Stoke comeback
- Lucas Leiva available to enter into midfield should Klopp switch formation
Liverpool’s XI vs. The Baggies
Klopp has faced tough decisions over who to utilise in place of key absentees in recent games, but his biggest call for Sunday comes with system rather than personnel.
The boss has deployed three at the back at stages of both games since Sadio Mane’s injury, and with the Reds not the same force in 4-3-3 without the Senegalese, Klopp may feel this offers the best way round the winger’s absence.
The second half at Stoke will likely have added to Klopp’s belief that this is the best route forward.
And coming up against a similarly physical and direct side, the boss could deploy it again with a 3-4-2-1 setup.
Changes to the XI will follow, with Alexander-Arnold and Woodburn to make way for revitalised duo Coutinho and Firmino.
In this, the Brazilians can play attacking-midfield roles supporting Origi, whose superior match fitness is likely to keep Sturridge among the substitutes for now.
The four-man midfield would be as seen in last week’s turnaround, with Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner flanking Emre Can and Gini Wijnaldum.
Meanwhile, the back three of Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan would be unchanged, giving the Reds a lineup boasting 10 of the side that ended the Stoke turnaround.
That the Reds will be fresher following a week’s rest could tempt Klopp into reverting to 4-3-3, however.
While the boss will know his side aren’t the same attacking force without Mane, that the shape has been the same all season, meaning the players know it inside out, could sway his decision.
Within this, the first-choice back line can be fielded, with Klavan dropping out, while the recharged Lucas would return to holding midfield to anchor behind Can and Wijnaldum.
In attack, Coutinho can return to his left-sided role, with Firmino on the right and Origi—who will need an improved performance with Sturridge closing in on a full return—leading the line.
Sunday’s clash presents another tough test on the road for the Reds, and a battling display will be required to claim another crucial three points in the chase for Champions League football.