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Fabinho, Keita & Shaqiri to start for strong Reds – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Chelsea

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Jurgen Klopp is expected to rotate but insists a “very strong” Liverpool side will take on Chelsea in the League Cup. Here, we take a look at the lineup options.

Domestic cup action begins for the Reds on Wednesday night as Chelsea arrive at Anfield for the first instalment of a quick-fire double-header.

This competition may not be the main priority but Liverpool will want to extend the best start to a season in Anfield history and send a statement ahead of Saturday’s vital Premier League clash.

That such a key league meeting looms will likely see Klopp make a number of changes for the cup tie, affording certain squad members a chance to shine.

The German has insisted a “very strong” team will feature, but the impressive squad depth means Klopp could make several switches and still field what could pass for a full-strength XI for most other sides.

So with changes likely, who could come into the team and how can we expect Liverpool’s starting XI to look?


The Reds to be Rested

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 1, 2018: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp said in his pre-match press conference that he won’t change the whole team and make 11 changes.

Despite that most, if not all, who have featured heavily in the electric start are likely to be given a night off.

One of those, Klopp has confirmed, will be Alisson, while Virgil van Dijk, still suffering pain from a rib injury, is unlikely to be risked.

Full-back mainstays Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are likely to be rested, while Joe Gomez could be too.

Gini Wijnaldum is a contender for a rest having played in every game so far, with the same applying to James Milner.

Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino could be preserved ahead of huge Premier League and Champions League games with Chelsea, Napoli and Man City.


Likely Starters & Game-Time Hopefuls

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 7, 2018: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' and manager J¸rgen Klopp during the preseason friendly match between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

All backup options, squad players and youngsters will hope to feature, but Klopp is likely to prioritise those closer to the first-team fold.

Simon Mignolet will replace Alisson, as already confirmed, while Xherdan Shaqiri looks nailed on for an extended run-out.

There seems no better time to give Fabinho his full debut in his natural No. 6 role.

In defence, Joel Matip should start again while Alberto Moreno will enter at left-back.

Dejan Lovren “looks ready” for action according to Klopp, so the Croatian could rebuild his old partnership with Matip.

Forgotten right-back Nathaniel Clyne could also play for the first time this season.

Certain Reds who have already played a role could also feature to provide an element of consistency.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 22, 2018: Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp prepares to bring on substitute Naby Keita during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Pic by Jon Super/Propaganda)

Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita, who was benched for the last two games, are contenders to do so.

Daniel Sturridge looks set to start and hopefully build on his impressive display deputising against PSG.

In the squad, fit-again Dominic Solanke will hope to join Sturridge in attack to face his old club.

Youngsters Curtis Jones, Rafa Camacho and Nathaniel Phillips, who all impressed in pre-season, could be involved.

The usual absentees are still out, including Adam Lallana and Divock Origi.


The Potential Lineups

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 22, 2018: Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates creating the first goal, an own goal by Wesley Hoedt, during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Pic by Jon Super/Propaganda)

Though Klopp said 11 changes won’t be made, numerous switches will materialise and several squad members will be given a chance to shine.

It’s likely that a team is built to hand selected fringe players minutes and certain regulars a chance to find form ahead of key league and European games.

And one such selection boasting seven changes could be shaped as follows.

The incoming Mignolet could be protected by a back four that sees Matip retained and joined by Clyne, Lovren and Moreno in what was once a first-choice defence.

Henderson could provide the consistency in a very strong midfield unit alongside Keita and Fabinho, who should slot into defensive midfield.

An explosive attack built on similar principles could see Mane and Shaqiri provide the ammunition for Sturridge to fire.

With the biggest and strongest squad since arriving at Anfield at his disposal, Klopp could take a more experimental approach.

Some upcoming talents could start; especially options who would allow Henderson and Mane—who has played all but 18 minutes of the first seven games—a break.

It would be great to see the hugely talented Jones blooded in an exciting midfield marshalled by Fabinho and Keita.

Meanwhile, this competition provides the only real chance for Solanke to play, so he could enjoy a run-out against his former club, partnering Sturridge.

Domestic cup competitions may not be Liverpool’s priority this season, but the Reds need a positive performance and result to arrive in perfect shape for an incredibly tough three games.

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