Full backs remain? Can to return – Liverpool’s lineup options vs. Hoffenheim

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After seeing those introduced against Crystal Palace impress, Jurgen Klopp faces some big decisions for Liverpool’s vital second leg with Hoffenheim.

Anfield hosts one of its biggest European nights in years as the Reds attempt to seal qualification for the lucrative Champions League group stage.

A priceless 2-1 win in Sinsheim ensured Klopp’s men brought home a crucial advantage, and it’s now all about retaining focus to ensure of a return to Europe’s elite competition.

Klopp made numerous changes to his lineup for the first time this season in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Palace—with one eye clearly on the make-or-break second leg.

The boss must now decide whether to reintroduce those rested at the weekend for an intense night at Anfield, or stick with some of those who delivered when called upon in victory over the Eagles.

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 22, 2017: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Play-Off 2nd Leg match against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 

The Reds XI vs. Hoffenheim

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 19, 2017: Liverpool's press officer Matt McCann celebrates a goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

For the first time this season Klopp has selection dilemmas to solve, all coming on a crucial night with no room for error.

Klopp wisely rotated the team against Palace, making five changes, and the boss saw those introduced produce reliable, and in some cases impressive, performances.

Form will now come into consideration as well as fitness, and a lineup catering for both could be fielded by adding some of those rested and sticking with certain Reds who impressed to keep confidence flowing.

Moving this way should see Gomez and Robertson continue at right- and left-back respectively, after each produced solid defensive displays to help post a first clean sheet of the season.

However at centre-back Lovren, who entered only as a late sub on Saturday and can therefore provide freshness in defence, should replace Klavan.

After watching the Reds’ first Premier League win from the bench, Can should return to midfield, creating a difficult decision over who makes way.

It should be Wijnaldum after his uninspiring start to the season, however, allowing Can to form a combative, hardworking unit with Jordan Henderson and the quietly impressive Milner.

Meanwhile in attack, Salah should replace Sturridge to give Liverpool the paciest forward line possible on a night counter-attacking play could prove vital.

Klopp made changes against Palace for a reason, though—clearly wanting those who have featured heavily in a busy start to the season to recharge for the pivotal game.

The boss could therefore recall all re-energised options to ensure the Reds are in the best possible condition physically and mentally for the decisive contest.

Restoring all five would see Liverpool in the exact lineup that started the first-leg win—and with this XI having started the job, Klopp could trust them to finish it at Anfield.

Alexander-Arnold and Moreno would return to their respective full-back positions, with Lovren again replacing Klavan to partner Matip.

Can would return to complete a high-energy midfield three, this time alongside Henderson and Wijnaldum with Milner dropping back to the bench.

Meanwhile, Salah would take his place on the right of the forward line, linking up with Mane and Firmino:

The Reds battled brilliantly in Germany to put themselves in a commanding position in the tie, and Klopp’s men must now rise to the occasion and complete the job to seal a lucrative group stage spot.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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