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Liverpool’s lineup options vs. Man United as Shaqiri prepares for first appearance

Liverpool face Man United in their third and final game of the International Champions Cup on their US tour on Saturday night (10.05pm BST).

Having been beaten 3-1 by Borussia Dortmund in the first game of the tour, the Reds bounced back with a 2-1 win over Pep Guardiola’s Man City in New Jersey, courtesy of a last-minute Sadio Mane penalty.

With both Mane and Mohamed Salah returning to the fold in emphatic style, Jurgen Klopp will be starting to firm up his plans for the season opener against West Ham.

Meanwhile, Xherdan Shaqiri is in line to make his first appearance. having linked up with the squad and taken part in his first training sessions in recent days. The Swiss winger will likely play the last half hour from the bench.

ANN ARBOR, USA - Friday, July 27, 2018: Liverpool's new signing Xherdan Shaqiri during a training session ahead of the preseason International Champions Cup match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at the Michigan Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp will want to be giving his key players plenty of minutes and will most likely adopt a similar approach to the previous game against City, fielding the same XI for the first hour before making a raft of changes later on in the game.

His selection is hampered by minor injuries to Loris Karius, Naby Keita and Georginio Wijnaldum, however, while Joel Matip and Nathaniel Clyne have both left the tour early.

Jose Mourinho’s side beat AC Milan on penalties following a 1-1 draw in their first game of the International Champions Cup, and will provide another stern test for Klopp and his team as the 2018/19 campaign draws closer.

Here’s how the Reds could line up in Michigan.


Starting XI

Kelleher; Camacho, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Lallana, Woodburn; Salah, Mane, Sturridge

It’s been far from an ideal pre-season for Karius, and he is set to miss out against United with a knee problem, which could hand an opportunity to 19-year-old Caoimhin Kelleher.

Kelleher and fellow young keeper Kamil Grabara are expected to play 45 minutes each.

Clyne has departed due to the birth of his son, so there is another opportunity at right-back for Rafa Camacho, who excelled in the second half against City, providing the assist for Salah’s goal with an excellent cross.

It will be very difficult for Camacho to break into the team at right-back any time soon, given the wealth of competition ahead of him, but he will benefit from training with the senior squad this season and will hope to get some minutes in the domestic cup games.

At centre-back, Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk look the most likely partnership to start the opening game of the season, given Joel Matip’s injury.

While Van Dijk is established in the left centre-back spot, Gomez has the edge over Ragnar Klavan given he’s a naturally right-sided defender, and will have the opportunity to show why this is his best long-term position for Liverpool.

CHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 7, 2018: Liverpool's Fabinho during a preseason friendly match between Chester FC and Liverpool FC at the Deva Stadium. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

In midfield, Fabinho looks almost certain to start the season in the No. 6 role, and will benefit from more minutes in pre-season to adapt to Liverpool’s system and learn what Klopp wants from him in that position.

Keita’s precautionary absence from training means he will probably not be risked from the start, while Wijnaldum is another doubt due to a muscle issue.

Klopp could therefore call upon Ben Woodburn, who impressed in midfield in the second half of Thursday’s win over City.

Adam Lallana has looked fit and sharp in the pre-season games so far, and will look to cement his place in the side for the opening weeks of the season.

Up top, following their outstanding cameo performances against City, Klopp could unleash both Salah and Mane from the start this time, as both players will benefit from the game time after their late returns to pre-season following the World Cup.

July 25, 2018 - East Rutherford, NJ, U.S. - EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JULY 25: Liverpool midfielder Mohamed Salah (11) celebrates after he scores during the second half of the International Champions Cup Soccer game between Liverpool and Manchester City on July 25, 2018 at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire) (Credit Image: © Rich Graessle/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

Daniel Sturridge, meanwhile, has shone throughout pre-season and will remain at the club, dispelling any talk of him moving on this summer.

With Roberto Firmino still yet to return to pre-season, Sturridge has the chance to force his way into Klopp’s plans for the opening game of the season.

He should relish the opportunity to play alongside Salah and Mane as the spearhead of Liverpool’s attack.



NEW JERSEY, USA - Wednesday, July 25, 2018: Liverpool's Curtis Jones is fouled during a preseason International Champions Cup match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Met Life Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Grabara, Klavan, Moreno, Milner, Grujic, Jones, Chirivella, Ojo, Shaqiri, Markovic, Origi, Solanke

With Karius missing out and Kelleher in line to replace him, Grabara can expect to be given an opportunity from the substitutes’ bench as he vies with his academy counterpart.

Klavan is also likely to feature at some point, perhaps in place of Camacho, with Gomez moving to right-back at some stage in the second half.

Alberto Moreno will take over from Andy Robertson, while James Milner will certainly feature too, if indeed he doesn’t get the nod to start.

Curtis Jones has been one of the standout players of pre-season so far, and impressed against City despite playing out of position in a more advanced wide-left berth.

He, along with Marko Grujic, who also stood out with his second-half display against City, will look to get some more game time in midfield later in the game.

The likes of Pedro Chirivella, Sheyi Ojo, Lazar Markovic and Divock Origi all face uncertain futures and are unlikely to see much action.

NEW JERSEY, USA - Wednesday, July 25, 2018: Liverpool's new signing Xherdan Shaqiri after a preseason International Champions Cup match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Met Life Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Shaqiri will be hoping to make his debut after taking part in training in recent days, and will most likely replace one of Salah or Mane in the latter stages of the game.

Dominic Solanke, meanwhile, will be part of the squad again this season and showed signs of why Klopp is keen to persevere with him against City.

The youngster produced a strong second-half showing in which he held the ball up well, created multiple chances for his team-mates and ultimately earned the penalty which won Liverpool the game.

He will feature against United, and will look to build on his positive cameo last time out.

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