Keita to start? – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Napoli

2 October 2018

A full strength Liverpool team will face Napoli despite Man City’s impending Anfield visit, but Jurgen Klopp could make changes in midfield and attack.


The Premier League winning streak may have gone but the Reds aim to build another on the European stage with victory at Napoli.

Beating PSG was a fantastic start to the campaign and will give Liverpool confidence to make it a perfect two wins from two in south Italy.

Jurgen Klopp has confirmed he will keep his selection strong against the Serie A outfit – despite Sunday’s looming showdown with Man City.

However, the boss also said minor changes could arrive and certain Reds are pushing for starts after taking chances to impress in recent games.

So what switches could Klopp make and how could Liverpool line up at Stadio San Paolo?

 

Possible changes & contenders to come in

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 26, 2018: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The good news is that there are no new injury concerns, ensuring Klopp has a full squad available.

City’s Anfield arrival may be fast approaching but there will be no heavy rotation ahead of that huge clash, as Klopp explained to Liverpool’s official website:

“It’s really difficult to think about anything other than the next game – we only think about the next game, but not the next game after the next game! It is always like this.

“In the moment it is all fine and we have to use it. We will see, maybe we will make one or two changes or whatever – maybe more – but it’s all about this game.”

Changes could arrive but it’s unlikely they will come in defence, with Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson all to start.

They could instead be made in midfield and attack where a few Reds are eyeing starting roles.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 26, 2018: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the first goal during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Daniel Sturridge more than anyone is knocking on the door after another stunning impact against Chelsea.

So too is Xherdan Shaqiri who has been bright in all of his recent outings.

The pair provide in-form options to introduce in place of Mohamed Salah who has yet to show his best form.

Naby Keita also impressed from the bench at Chelsea and is poised for his first Reds Champions League start.

Fabinho will hope for the chance to build on his full debut of last Wednesday but is likely to have to remain patient.

 

The Potential Lineups

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 29, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah is replaced by substitute Xherdan Shaqiri by manager Jürgen Klopp during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp has made clear he won’t take any risks and will pick the best team to get the job done in Naples.

The first choice defence will surely be in operation and realistically it will be the same in attack with the Fab Three to start.

It may seem harsh on Sturridge in particular given his form, but the striker knows his role and Salah remains fundamental to Liverpool’s play even if he isn’t firing on all cylinders.

The area that could see change is midfield, where Klopp has plenty of options in personnel and tactical set-up.

The most likely is to introduce Keita to create a more dynamic central unit, with Henderson making way to be preserved ahead of a full throttle afternoon against City.

While there is no chance of League Cup-style rotation we could see more changes arrive, as Klopp hinted.

Alongside Keita, fellow regular go-to men Shaqiri and Sturridge will both come into consideration given their impressive form and the need to balance things in attack.

Defending from the front will be vital in Naples and this is likely to keep the more mobile and aggressive Firmino in place and Sturridge benched.

But Shaqiri could enter to add some extra game-changing spark from one of the wide positions.

There will be calls for the Swiss international to replace Salah, but Klopp could withdraw Mane who was the only Fab Three member not be afforded a rest in the League Cup loss to Chelsea.

The Reds made a flying start to the campaign against PSG and it’s vital that superb result is followed by another three points to take a commanding position in Group C.

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