Moreno poised as Klopp sweats on Coutinho – Predicting Liverpool’s XI vs. Stoke City

7 April 2017

Jurgen Klopp is sweating on the availability of Philippe Coutinho for Saturday’s trip to Stoke City, giving the boss yet another potential headache.


The depleted Reds look to put midweek frustration behind them by bouncing back to winning ways against Mark Hughes’ side.

A typically tough fixture awaits Klopp’s injury-hit team at the Britannia Stadium, particularly after Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw at home to Bournemouth.

But the Reds can take encouragement from their current five-game unbeaten run as they look to inflict a fourth straight loss on the struggling Potters.

The match is made extra difficult by injuries to key players, and with Klopp also potentially without Coutinho, the boss is faced with another unwanted problem as his side play for the third time in a week.

 

Team News

  • Reds squad now worryingly threadbare with key men dropping like flies
  • Reds in need of fresh legs but options desperately thin for Klopp
  • Midfield trio set to remain unchanged with Lucas Leiva in for third consecutive start
  • Klopp could have to introduce certain squad options if Coutinho misses out

 

Liverpool’s XI vs. the Potters

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 5, 2017: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the first equalising goal against AFC Bournemouth during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp’s final selection all hinges on Coutinho’s availability, and the boss, like all Kopites around the globe, will have everything crossed that the Brazilian is able to take part.

The German said in his pre-match press conference that he will afford the No. 10 every chance to prove his readiness, and if Coutinho can play, Liverpool will be able to field a relatively strong XI despite the absences of key men.

It will also be a familiar looking team to both of the last two games though, which provides concern with Klopp’s men already looking tired going into a third match in seven days.

Indeed, if Coutinho’s is fit, just one change is likely to be made to the side that started against Bournemouth.

That will likely see Matip—who seemed to come through his cameo unscathed—reintroduced alongside Dejan Lovren at Ragnar Klavan’s expense.

The rest of the team would remain unchanged, with Lucas, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum forming the midfield, and Coutinho continuing alongside Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi in attack.

While Coutinho will rightly be afforded every chance to recover, Klopp will have to plan for the possibility of being without the key Brazilian.

With his hands significantly tied, Klopp could go for the most settled reshuffle—if that’s possible—especially given the impact of drastic change to formation and personnel on Wednesday night.

The simplest way to navigate Coutinho’s absence would be to move James Milner into attack on the right side, and switch Firmino to the opposite flank to support Origi from the left.

Moreno would then enter for his first league start since the win at Crystal Palace in October at left-back, where the Spaniard will at least provide welcome pace and athleticism.

It’s certainly not an ideal rearrangement, but with Sturridge having only just returned from injury and given our luck at this moment, it’s not worth the risk of playing him from the start.

The Britannia Stadium visit will be a typically testing fixture, but at a crucial stage of the season with results of paramount importance, the Reds must find a way to grind through for victory.

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