Jurgen Klopp faces a tricky decision in whether to play a full strength or rotated Liverpool side against West Brom on Saturday afternoon.
Another hectic but hugely exciting period begins at the Hawthorns where the Reds aim for another victory to close in on a top-four finish.
The trip to West Brom—who could be relegated with defeat—feels a distraction with the crucial Champions League semi-final first leg with AS Roma looming large.
But it’s vital the Reds are fully focussed to earn a win which would retain full control of a top-four spot and positive momentum ahead of Tuesday’s crunch tie.
The European tie is understandably dominating thoughts around Anfield and it gives Klopp an interesting decision in whether to go with a full-strength or rotated XI against the Baggies.
- Long-term absentees Joel Matip, Emre Can & Adam Lallana still missing
- Nathaniel Clyne also likely to sit out with muscle problem
- Defensive options boosted with Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren & Ragnar Klavan back
- Same midfield and attacking options available with front three all fit
- Squad options Alberto Moreno, Ben Woodburn, Dominic Solanke & Danny Ings available
Liverpool’s XI vs. the Baggies
Klopp has a tricky balancing act with selection as the Reds look to wrap up a top-four spot as smoothly as possible while pushing forward in the hunt for European Cup No. 6.
The boss made clear in his press conference he will take no chances in his pursuit of the former—insisting no players will be rested on Saturday ahead of Roma’s arrival.
So while it may seem a gamble a near full-strength side could feature at the Hawthorns.
Lovren’s pleasingly swift return to full fitness should see what has developed into the first-choice back four continue.
One in-form midfielder will miss out and it could be Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose driving force and attacking thrust from the middle of the park will be crucial against Roma.
As always the front three would pick itself:
Klopp could be forgiven for having one eye on Tuesday’s tie and cynics will suggest he will have despite publicly insisting it is a case of taking it one battle at a time.
Most would expect and understand if Klopp utilised the squad and rotated to preserve certain key men—and this could yet materialise.
It then presents the question of who should be rested, with options available throughout the squad to alter all departments of the team.
Most options for rotation come in defence where Gomez, Klavan and Moreno could all enter to preserve Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and fit-again Lovren.
Midfield could see a reshuffle with Oxlade-Chamberlain starting and Gini Wijnaldum dropping out, but the biggest question comes in who of the lethal front three should feature.
Klopp could keep two of the three in to ensure cutting edge is retained while also allowing for an impactful in-game switch if required.
A case could be made for each to be rested, but if anyone has to be wrapped up in cotton wool it’s Mohamed Salah ahead of the reunion with his former club.
A changed XI but one strong enough to take all three points could look like this:
The Reds need just two wins from the last four games to secure a top-four finish, and Saturday’s clash with the bottom club presents a fantastic chance to get the first.