Liverpool travel to Turf Moor looking to kick off the new year in the winning form they signed off 2017 with.
Victory over Leicester was the perfect end to the year and start to the quick-fire double-header, and success against Sean Dyche’s men would cap off an excellent festive period for Klopp’s side.
With kickoff just 48 hours after that final win of 2017, Klopp is certain to avoid last season’s mistakes by rotating, and a much-changed selection could feature—with man of the moment Salah in line for a rest.
So how should Liverpool line up for a crucial clash in Lancashire on Monday?
- Changes to be made for Reds’ second game in 48 hours
- Mohamed Salah a doubt and likely to be rested after limping off in Leicester win
- Ragnar Klavan set to recover from head injury to feature
- Klopp confirms Simon Mignolet will return in goal
- Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in line for starts
- Adam Lallana could make first start of the season
- Trent Alexander-Arnold & Dominic Solanke could enter
- Turf Moor trip set to come too early for Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool’s XI vs. The Clarets
The only question ahead of Monday’s 2018 opener is how much rotation Klopp conducts.
The impressive display and result against Leicester could tempt Klopp to make only minor changes in hope of capitalising on the positive momentum built over a so-far-successful festive period.
This could be the safest option—going almost full-strength from the off to hopefully get the game won before then making changes.
One switch could see Klavan enter to keep things fresh at the back, but key changes would come in midfield where Wijnaldum and Oxlade-Chamberlain would join Emre Can.
James Milner and Salah should make way—with there absolutely no reason to risk worsening the Egyptian’s ‘minor’ issue—and his absence could see Sadio Mane move to the right, allowing Coutinho to play from the left.
The Brazilian would be closer to goal and prime goalscoring positions to conjure up a moment of magic which may be needed in a game the Reds could understandably struggle to hit top form.
Klopp paid a heavy price for failure to adequately rotate last January, and that could play heavily on his mind.
Making so few changes is a risk the boss seemingly won’t take this time, and it could inspire a more rotated side with alterations throughout the XI.
Alexander-Arnold as well as Klavan could enter defence, perhaps with Matip making way for the Estonian having played successive full games since returning from injury.
In attack, Solanke could lead the line with support from Coutinho and Mane—with it vitally important Firmino is wisely managed.
It’s unlikely Lallana will start having not played against Leicester, but expect to see the returning midfielder at some stage.
The Reds have navigated a gruelling festive period superbly so far, and one more big effort is needed at Turf Moor to ensure it ends with another vital three points.