Liverpool’s lineup options vs. Leicester City as Jurgen Klopp considers changes

31 August 2018

Jurgen Klopp has suggested changes are being considered but will Liverpool line up unaltered for the fourth game running when they take on Leicester City?


The Reds make the short trip to the East Midlands for their final outing before the majority of the squad departs on international duty.

Having sealed victories over West Ham, Crystal Palace and Brighton so far, Klopp’s side head into the weekend top of the Premier League, having done so by making no alternations.

Klopp has retained Joe Gomez at centre-back, and accompanied Naby Keita with Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner in midfield, with few other decisions to make elsewhere.

But speaking in his pre-match press conference on Friday, the manager hinted at possibly switching things up at the weekend, with those on the sidelines fighting for a chance.

Here’s how Liverpool could line up on Saturday lunchtime.

 

Team News & Klopp’s Quandary

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 19, 2018: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp speaks to second half substitutes at half half time during a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Klopp has no new injury concerns following last weekend’s hard-fought win over Brighton, with only Dejan Lovren, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster on the treatment table.

This provides the manager with a quandary as he weighs up whether to make changes, as he told reporters at Melwood:

“[When we work] Saturday to Saturday with three very intense sessions, I’m pretty open to anybody who shows me the most, who shows me he’s desperate to play.

“Of course there’s a little advantage for the lineup who won the game last week.

“In the best way it’s always like this, nobody has a weaker week from the starting lineup, but somebody maybe is showing up.

“Then it’s about what fits for the opponent.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 25, 2018: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Those who are battling for a return to the side include Joel Matip, Alberto Moreno, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge.

New signings Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri are yet to make their full debuts for the Reds, and the No. 3 was not even named in the matchday squad for either of the last two games.

Youngsters Nat Phillips, Curtis Jones and Rafa Camacho will also be pushing their senior team-mates in training, along with fringe figures such as Divock Origi and Dom Solanke.

But there is cause to suggest that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

 

The Potential Lineups

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 12, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Addressing his decision to name an unchanged side for the first three games of the season, Klopp added “that will not happen too often from now in the future.”

Whether this comes into effect before or after the international break remains to be seen, but with the manager explaining that “it was always clear August would be a bit different,” the latter seems likely.

If that is the case, Gomez should continue his partnership with Virgil van Dijk at centre-back, with Alisson in goal and Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson at full-back.

In midfield, Wijnaldum would retain his role as the No. 6, with Milner and Keita shuttling as Roberto Firmino drops deep from his nominal centre-forward position.

And finding the back of the net five times between them already this season, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are shoo-ins to start on the flanks:

However, with the international break looming and few of his first-team squad remaining on Merseyside for the first weeks of next month, Klopp could opt for alterations.

The Reds are next in action after this weekend with a difficult trip to Wembley to take on Tottenham on September 15, and it is unlikely he will take too many risks for that clash.

Therefore, it is possible that he provides starting opportunities for those who would otherwise be without match sharpness over a month into the campaign.

Fabinho is certainly a candidate in that respect, with Klopp lamenting how he, Alisson and Firmino would “come [back] from the USA midweek” before the game, which happens to be another lunchtime kickoff.

The 24-year-old could make his debut in testing conditions at the King Power, potentially replacing Wijnaldum at the base of the midfield.

Meanwhile, Henderson is yet to start this season, with Wijnaldum in excellent form, but has provided urgency in his three cameo appearances so far.

The captain could be considered to take over from Milner instead, and with these two changes the Reds could line up like this on Saturday:

There are other possibilities for Klopp, with Nathaniel Clyne potentially giving Alexander-Arnold a break before England duty and Shaqiri a willing alternate for any of Keita, Salah or Mane.

But it is likely that Liverpool will remain in familiar shape against Leicester, before Klopp shuffles his pack after the upcoming friendlies and qualifiers.

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