Midfield the only question – Liverpool’s expected lineup vs. Man City

6 October 2018

Jurgen Klopp will keep faith with his first choice Liverpool team against Man City, with it just a question of starting Naby Keita or Jordan Henderson.


Liverpool will want to prove their title credentials on Sunday, especially with doubts having risen outside Anfield following three big games without a win.

Klopp will hope it proves a case of his team saving the best performance until last, with a flawless collective display needed to claim a statement win against Pep Guardiola’s side.

Certainly, a huge improvement will be needed from the display produced at Napoli and Klopp looks set to trust the same team to deliver it against City.

 

The Squad & Selection Decisions

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, October 3, 2018: Liverpool's Naby Keita (C) and Napoli's Allan Marques Loureiro (L) and José Callejón (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between S.S.C. Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio San Paolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There is one injury concern for Klopp ahead of the blockbuster clash.

Keita, forced off with a back spasm in Naples, will continue to be assessed ahead of kick-off, with Klopp hopeful but uncertain over the Guinean’s availability.

Midfield options have been boosted though as Adam Lallana returned to full training this week, but he certainly won’t start the game.

Klopp will want a lot more from his team than produced in Italy and may consider changes in attempt to get it.

Henderson will return to the starting XI after dropping to the bench in Napoli if Keita isn’t fully fit.

And there are more in-form options itching for an opportunity from the start.

Daniel Sturridge and Xherdan Shaqiri will both hope for the chance to sharpen up the attack.

Fabinho is edging close to full consideration after another cameo at Napoli and Klopp could consider a surprise start for the Brazilian as he searches for the right midfield balance.

 

Liverpool’s Expected XI vs. City

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, October 3, 2018: Liverpool's players line-up for a team group photograph before the UEFA Champions League Group C match between S.S.C. Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio San Paolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While it would normally be expected that changes will be forthcoming after a loss, Klopp will be fully aware that this is no fixture in which to experiment.

The German spoke in his press conference of the difficulty making changes and need for consistency in selection during this run, and this certainly isn’t the game to introduce players who haven’t featured extensively.

What is far more likely is that Klopp gives those who featured for the majority of a difficult night in Napoli the opportunity to put it right with a star performance.

The likes of Sturridge and Shaqiri will have to remain patient, with the Fab Three to be kept in hope of rediscovering top form against a City side who have previously felt the force.

Assuming Keita does miss out with his back injury, the XI will include Henderson from the start in the only change to the team that began proceedings at Stadio San Paolo.

In that case, it would indeed be down to the same side to bounce back with a much-improved performance at Anfield:

Realistically, there could be only one difference to the above lineup.

And that is a potential starting role for Keita again providing he sufficiently recovers.

If the Guinean does he could be handed the chance he was denied in Italy alongside Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner – with Henderson dropping back out after his extended outing on Wednesday.

It’s been a tough run for the Reds but Sunday’s showdown offers the ideal game to bounce back and prove once and for all that Liverpool are serious contenders for the Premier League title.

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