Buoyed after derby day delight, Liverpool reconvene at Anfield to kick-off a favourable run-in against Eddie Howe’s Cherries.
Confidence will be oozing from the Reds after breezing past Everton, but Klopp’s men know better than anyone the threat Bournemouth pose, and they must keep focussed to ensure the derby win is followed by another crucial three points.
While Liverpool’s form has considerably improved, fortunes with injuries has nosedived with Mane the latest key player ruled out, leaving Klopp working with a restricted squad at a vital time.
- Klopp to be forced into changing winning team with Mane sidelined
- Midfield duo Jordan Henderson & Adam Lallana remain out
- Injuries to key trio depleting Klopp’s options at a crucial time
- Better news with Daniel Sturridge who could be involved after full training return
- Dejan Lovren also fit despite suffering horror challenge from Ross Barkley in derby win
- Divock Origi poised to replace Mane and spearhead Reds’ attack
- Further change could come in midfield if Klopp freshens starting XI for second of three games in seven days
- Some questions over whether Emre Can and Joel Matip missed training on Monday
- Philippe Coutinho could move into midfield, with James Milner an option for attacking role
- Alberto Moreno available if Klopp makes further changes, with Ragnar Klavan and Trent Alexander-Arnold also options
Liverpool’s XI vs. the Cherries
Klopp insisted in his pre-match press conference that “we will still have a very good lineup”, but the boss is operating with a frustratingly depleted group as his team play three games in a week.
This makes the German’s selection simple once again though, with Klopp’s only challenge – albeit the most difficult one he could face – being to find how best to compensate for Mane’s absence, which could be for the rest of the season.
It’s almost certain Origi will be the chosen man, entering into the central striking role where he will be flanked by Coutinho and Roberto Firmino from the left and right respectively.
The rest of the XI is likely to be unchanged from the derby triumph – providing no more injuries materialise before kick-off – and the Reds would start with this lineup:
There are few genuine alternative ways to juggle the team currently, but Klopp mentioned one particularly interesting route when discussing how he can get by without Mane.
The boss reminded how Milner could be restored to his natural “offensive” wide role if needed.
And with Lucas’s struggles to play games in quick succession – a shame given how well he played against the Blues – switching the No.7 could be something to seriously consider.
Indeed, Milner could move into Mane’s right-side role, completing the front three along with Firmino and Origi.
With Milner enjoying a rare attacking berth, Moreno would make his first league start since the Reds’ 4-2 win at Crystal Palace in October to complete the defensive unit.
Liverpool’s run-in presents a huge opportunity to ensure Champions League qualification is secured, and Klopp’s men must start as they mean to go on by claiming a vital victory against the Cherries.