Mignolet to return, options at full back – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Man City

8 September 2017
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Jurgen Klopp faces some key decisions for Liverpool’s trip to Man City, over who starts at full-back and whether to hand Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a debut.


With the first international break of the season complete, the Reds return to action in a mouth-watering lunchtime clash against Pep Guardiola’s City.

It’s hardly an ideal fixture to restart, but carrying vital momentum from thrashing Arsenal, Klopp’s men will be confident of continuing the unbeaten run and fine form against top-six rivals.

A tougher game than against the lifeless Gunners awaits, but belief can be taken from the fact Liverpool have not lost a league game against City under Klopp’s tutelage.

Klopp will want to extend that impressive four-game streak, and he faces some key decisions in his attempts to do so – most crucially at full-back and with whether to instantly introduce Oxlade-Chamberlain.

 

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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 22, 2017: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp 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)

Liverpool’s XI vs. City

Coming straight into a second heavyweight clash after a stunning performance in the first, more of the same will certainly be Klopp’s order of the day.

Indeed, after seeing his side demolish Arsenal, there would be few arguments if the same starting XI was named in search of a repeat display in Manchester.

Doing so would make for a slightly controversial selection, however, given Klopp’s insistence that Mignolet will “100%” start against City after being rested against the Gunners.

It’s therefore fair to expect the Belgian to replace Karius – who is in line to serve as Liverpool’s Champions League ‘keeper – and the goalkeeping switch could be the only change.

Indeed, the performances of the explosive front three, settled midfield and improved defence – featuring Moreno and Gomez at full-back – last time out gives Klopp no reason for further switches.

Liverpool would therefore lineup with an in-form and confident XI at the Etihad, while Klopp could also have a strong bench to utilise – featuring Oxlade-Chamberlain.

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Though excellent recent performances means little is likely to change with the lineup, the impressive strength of the squad currently gives Klopp room for manoeuvre without compromising quality.

With this in mind, Mignolet’s return could be followed by a couple of outfield alterations.

The lethal front trio of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will rightly remain untouched, but switches could come in both defence and midfield.

Klopp could hand an immediate debut to Oxlade-Chamberlain having spoken glowingly on the new arrival’s versatility, also revealing he wants him “on the pitch as often as possible.”

It would be a big call, but the new recruit could start in place of Gini Wijnaldum, completing an extremely dynamic and powerful midfield alongside Jordan Henderson and Emre Can.

Klopp’s toughest selections arguably come in both full-back positions though, where four in-form defenders are battling for two roles.

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Moreno is likely to be given the nod over Robertson at left-back having trained at Melwood throughout the break, but on the right, the more pacey and front-footed Alexander-Arnold could return in place of Gomez.

With Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexander-Arnold joining Mignolet in three changes, an exciting Reds XI would look like this come 12:30pm kick-off time:

The first game after an international break is always difficult to negotiate, but the Reds can call upon their big-game excellence to help secure a positive result.


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