Jurgen Klopp faces an interesting selection against Huddersfield, with Philippe Coutinho likely to miss out and a potential defensive overhaul in the offing.
Liverpool return Anfield for the first of two vital home games in desperate need of an instant lift and return to winning ways.
Huddersfield present a tricky test and arrive full of confidence after beating Man United, but it’s a battle Klopp’s side must win to stabilise a league campaign threatening to unravel.
A special occasion awaits the managers, as Klopp locks horns with best mate David Wagner for the first time in a competitive fixture.
An intriguing contest is added to by Klopp facing the most anticipated selection of his reign, as he decides whether to give Dejan Lovren and Simon Mignolet a shot at redemption and navigates Coutinho’s potential absence.
- Klopp dealt huge blow with Coutinho set to miss out due to groin injury
- Danny Ward also on the treatment table after sustaining back injury
- But Gini Wijnaldum fit after knee issue and poised for starting XI return
- Dire individual defensive displays at Tottenham likely to see Klopp reshuffle defence
- Lovren set to be dropped with Mignolet also sweating over starting place
- Trent Alexander-Arnold poised for right-back berth with Joe Gomez to partner Joel Matip
- Further changes could come in midfield and attack in attempt to re-energise Reds
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in line to start after recent bright cameos
- Andy Robertson, Ragnar Klavan, Marko Grujic and Daniel Sturridge available if further changes are made
Liverpool’s XI vs. The Terriers
When team news is released an hour before kick-off, focus will first turn to a potential defensive overhaul before seeing how Klopp has navigated Coutinho’s absence.
Klopp gave little away in his press conference as to whether the expected defensive changes will be made, but there is absolutely no reason to stick with the tried and tested – and failed – any longer.
A reshuffle simply has to happen, with Klopp needing to be ruthless in deservedly removing Mignolet and Lovren from their starting roles.
Karius and Alexander-Arnold should replace the dropped duo, with the latter entering at right-back to allow Gomez to shift inside to partner Matip at the heart of defence.
Defensive alterations may be numerous, but Klopp’s toughest task comes in reshaping his team to spark without in-form Coutinho.
Given a new leaf could be turned in defence, Klopp could take the same approach in all departments to hand the Reds a new look and fresh optimism with an untried set-up.
The boss could select an untested but vibrant, attack-minded team for a must-win game, in attempt to inspire the three points desperately needed.
In front of the new-look rear-guard, an aggressive midfield could be formed by Henderson, Wijnaldum and Oxlade-Chamberlain – with this the ideal time to give the summer signing a central berth at James Milner’s expense.
Meanwhile in attack, Sturridge should be given the chance to spark to life with the help of Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, completing a lineup full of speed and goal-threat.
Though Klopp gave little away with regards to selection, it’s been reported that there will be “no knee-jerk reactions with the manager vowing to weigh up his options.”
The Reds, therefore, could retain a look closer to regularly fielded selections at Anfield, with some of those underperformers retained.
However, even though Klopp spoke positively about Lovren – stating he “had a good training week” – the Croatian should be kept out of the limelight and away from extortionate pressure.
Mignolet could be handed the chance to make amends though, as he will drop to the bench against Maribor on Wednesday, but the Belgian should feature only behind the same restructured defence.
Sticking closer to a usual selection would see midfield return to the regular, solid unit of Henderson, Wijnaldum and Emre Can, and this trio would also provide more familiarity in attack.
Firmino would be able to stay leading the line and Salah continue on the right, as Oxlade-Chamberlain would take the left-side role where he looked sharp at Wembley.
Saturday’s clash presents the first game of an extremely winnable run for the Reds, and it’s now absolutely essential Klopp’s side start as they mean to go on with victory at Anfield.