Selecting two potential XIs for Liverpool against Chester

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Jurgen Klopp will field two different lineups in each half at Chester on Saturday, but selecting them isn’t as easy as you’d expect.

The Reds kick off at the Swansway Stadium at the same time as England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden (3pm UK).

While supporters may be torn over the possibility of seeing new signings and returning loanees in action and the Three Lions’ first last-eight clash since 2006, Klopp’s focus is unwavering and a major reason for the lack of re-scheduling.

Chester provide comfortable opposition in Liverpool’s first friendly of the summer, and having only returned to Melwood on Monday, Klopp has confirmed he will make a raft of changes at half-time.

Some will be dictated by absences, with 14 players currently out of action, which could see some eccentric tactical work—like Shamal George’s appearance up front in 2016!

So who is available to start, who can alternate for the second half and who can the manager rely on as cover?

Here are two potential lineups for the Reds on Saturday.

 

First Half

Karius; Clyne, Gomez, Klavan, Robertson; Fabinho, Keita, Woodburn; Wilson, Ojo, Solanke


Despite the absence of 14 players due to international duty and injuries, Klopp has an opportunity to field a strong starting side in Cheshire.

Loris Karius is currently considered Liverpool’s No. 1, despite his nightmare end to the season, and he should start between the sticks.

After a difficult season marred by injury, Nathaniel Clyne will look to make his mark at right-back, with a lack of alternatives providing Joe Gomez a chance at centre-back alongside Ragnar Klavan.

Andy Robertson arrived midway through pre-season last summer, but can benefit from a full programme as he goes from strength to strength after an exciting first season on Merseyside.

All eyes, however, will be on Fabinho and Naby Keita in midfield, and Klopp is unlikely to resist the temptation to field both of his new signings together.

Meanwhile, Ben Woodburn serves as a great option to complement the pair, and having spent much of last term as a spectator he will be keen to impress.

Harry Wilson and Sheyi Ojo both have a point to prove after their loan spells in 2017/18, while Dominic Solanke can set out his stall early as he vies for the role of first-choice backup to Roberto Firmino.

 

Second Half

Ward; Milner, Phillips, Klavan, Moreno; Chirivella, Keita, Jones; Ings, Kent, Origi


Danny Ward‘s inclusion will satisfy many, with the Welsh stopper overlooked throughout last season despite having been denied another loan move to Huddersfield Town.

With Gomez required at centre-back, James Milner could fill in at right-back, but with Joel Matip ruled out, Klavan could stay on to partner Nathaniel Phillips.

Spanish duo Alberto Moreno and Pedro Chirivella should come in as left-back and No. 6 respectively, while Adam Lallana‘s absence could see Keita retained beyond the 45-minute mark, having been in training since the end of June.

Having been drafted into Klopp’s training squad towards the end of last season, Curtis Jones could make his first appearance for the senior side, and could provide an exciting outlet.

Ryan Kent is in a similar position to Ojo and will be keen to catch Klopp’s eye out wide, and while Danny Ings has set his sights on a move he should be included on the opposite flank.

As he competes with Solanke for a place in Klopp’s thoughts, Divock Origi will be looking to hit the target.

 

Substitutes

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 1, 2017: Liverpool's Rafael Camacho during the UEFA Youth League Group E match between Liverpool and NK Maribor at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Grabara, Kelleher, Allan, Markovic, Sturridge, Camacho


Klopp has led a 28-man squad through sessions this week, and he could make further changes in the second half to reflect this.

Kamil Grabara and Caoimhin Kelleher are unlikely to feature, but should be given a chance at some stage this summer, while Allan Rodrigues is a doubt as he works his way back from shoulder surgery.

Lazar Markovic and Daniel Sturridge should head through the Anfield exit this summer, but provide alternatives in attack if Klopp requires them.

Finally, like Jones, Rafa Camacho has made the step up to the senior squad having impressed for the U23s last season, and his brand of direct attacking play could give Liverpool a spark late on.

Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum will return to Melwood on Sunday morning, with their first involvement likely to come away to Bury on July 14.

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