Henderson in, Sturridge or Shaqiri in attack? – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. PSG

18 September 2018

Jurgen Klopp will make changes for Liverpool’s Champions League opener against Paris Saint Germain, with decisions to make in midfield and attack.


Three months on from a heart-breaking night in Kyiv, the Reds begin a fresh pursuit of bringing home No.6 against the French powerhouses at Anfield.

It is the toughest possible opening game against a side widely tipped to win the competition, and the power of Anfield will be needed in all its glory to get Liverpool off to a winning start.

It’s likely the starting lineup will keep a familiar look to recent games for the group opener, with Klopp’s core Reds continuing to deliver the wins.

However, change is set to come in midfield and seems likely to arrive in attack, too, with Roberto Firmino a major doubt.

So how could Liverpool’s starting XI look against PSG?

 

Injury Concerns

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 15, 2018: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino goes off injured after being struck in the face during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Some fresh and ill-timed injuries have hit the Reds’ attacking department.

The most concerning is Firmino, who is struggling with the nasty eye injury suffered at Tottenham and missed pre-PSG training on Monday afternoon as a result.

There is, thankfully, no serious damage and Klopp was hopeful that the Brazilian would be able to play—though that now seems unlikely.

Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke both sustained knocks playing for the U23s and are ruled out.

Known absentees Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren are still missing.

Certain Starters

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 17, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (centre) shares a joke with Virgil van Dijk (left) and Joe Gomez (right) during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and Paris Saint-Germain. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Though Firmino looks set to miss out, the vast majority of the XI that started the Tottenham win will keep their places at Anfield.

The defence will be certainly be unchanged with Alisson to be protected by a back four of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson.

Despite forgetting their shooting boots at Wembley, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are shoe-ins to fill two of the attacking roles.

Less clear at this stage is who will join them in attack and how the midfield will line up.

Potential Changes

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 17, 2018: Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and Paris Saint-Germain. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp could be forced to alter his attack if Firmino does indeed fail to recover, while the German could also freshen up his midfield.

Daniel Sturridge and Xherdan Shaqiri will be hoping to be handed the chance to join Salah and Mane.

Meanwhile, Jordan Henderson is set to return to midfield, presenting a tough call in who of Gini Wijnaldum, Naby Keita and James Milner makes way.

Fabinho is another option but seems likely to have to settle for a place on the bench as the patient approach continues.

 

Liverpool’s Lineup vs. PSG

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 25, 2018: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge applauds the supporters after the 1-0 victory during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With an injury and rotation to consider, it looks like a reshuffle will arrive and the squad depth will be utilised for the first time this season.

Klopp will no doubt stay optimistic on Firmino’s fitness having said Tuesday was a more realistic return date for the Brazilian, but given the No.9 sat out training it seems he won’t play.

It leaves a huge hole to fill but thanks to the strong squad available, Klopp has two quality options to consider.

One of those is handing Sturridge a long-awaited first Champions League start for the Reds, with pace and power still to be supplied from wide by Salah and Mane.

This could solve the injury reshuffle but Klopp still has a rotation conundrum to crack with Henderson all but confirmed to start.

None of the impressive Wijnaldum-Keita-Milner trio deserve to lose their shirt, but the vice-captain could be rested with Klopp sure to want to keep him in top condition and form.

The alternative attacking reshape for Klopp to ponder is giving Shaqiri a real baptism of fire with his first Reds start.

The summer signing can play from the right of the front three—thus able to cut in on his favoured left foot—with Salah then operating from a central position, an area we often see him occupy.

A benefit of this selection would be the extra pace and direct counter-attacking threat Liverpool would carry in a game that such plays could be key.

Meanwhile, a different combination could be chosen in midfield and Keita could drop out should Klopp want to go with a tried and trusted central unit.

It remains to be seen how Klopp lines the Reds up at Anfield, but one thing for sure is that Liverpool can arrive with full belief of achieving a positive result with either starting team.

More from This Is Anfield


Fan Comments