The Reds are at home to Paul Lambert’s relegation-threatened side on Saturday lunchtime, in a crucial Premier League clash for both clubs.
Two draws in the last three league outings for the Reds means the top-four battle is still alive, and further dropped points against the Potters would be problematic ahead of next week’s trip to Chelsea in the penultimate game of the season.
Tuesday’s stunning 5-2 win over Roma in the Champions League semi-final first leg was another special night under Klopp, but focus must now be on this match.
Lambert has an excellent record as a manager at Anfield, and Saturday 12:30pm kick-offs have famously not been kind to Liverpool of late.
Predicting who Klopp is going to select in his starting XI is never easy, but with key men out and others possibly in need of a rest, the decision feels even tougher currently.
- Changes expected but options limited
- Joel Matip, Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out; Sadio Mane a major doubt
- Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum the only fit senior midfielders
- Youngster Ben Woodburn could start; three at the back an option
- Devastating duo Mohamed Salah and Roberto Fimino set to be involved
Liverpool’s XI vs. Stoke City
Teenager Ben Woodburn has had a frustrating season, making just one substitutes’ appearance for the first-team, but could this be his chance to shine?
It would allow Klopp to give one of his midfielders a breather, most likely veteran Milner.
Ings could easily be preferred to Solanke, especially after scoring the opener at West Brom last weekend, and him starting could see Firmino shifted to the left of a front-three.
Moreno and Clyne would be capable wing-backs, providing energy up and down both flanks, with a two-man midfield again affording one of Henderson, Milner or Wijnaldum a place on the bench.
Woodburn’s versatility means he can shine on the left of a front-three, allowing Firmino to play in the central role he has shone in all season.
Second-guessing a Klopp starting lineup is always difficult, but with players dropping like flies and matches coming thick and fast, it is very difficult to know what he will go with against Stoke.
Keeping faith with a chunk of those who performed so admirably on Tuesday makes the most sense, but don’t be surprised to see fringe players and youngsters heavily involved.