Big guns return; a surprise in defence? – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Bournemouth

7 Dec 2018

Jurgen Klopp will continue his rotation policy for Liverpool’s vital clash with Bournemouth and is set restore his big guns in attack.


The games are coming thick and fast for the Reds who look for a second away win in four days to move – even if only briefly – top of the Premier League.

Victory at Burnley was a superb result, and it saw Klopp’s rotation pay-off as a mixed selection started the job before the big guns rose from the bench to finish it.

Rotation is sure to be in force again on Saturday as Klopp manages his squad through a crucial run while attempting to maintain quality in performances and winning form.

A number of changes are likely to be made to the starting XI once more, so how could Liverpool lineup against the Cherries?

 

Injury News

Injuries are mounting at the worst time, with the majority in defence to leave Klopp down to bare bones at right- and centre-back.

The Reds have been dealt a huge blow with Joe Gomez to be out until 2019 with a fractured leg sustained in the Burnley win.

Dejan Lovren is ruled out again having not fully recovered from a concussion sustained in training.

Nathaniel Clyne is also still side-lined with a knock.

It’s not just defenders Klopp is without though, as Sadio Mane is “unlikely” to be involved due to a foot injury.

There is some good news; Andy Robertson and Gini Wijnaldum are both “fine” and set to return to matchday involvement.

 

The Squad Available & Klopp’s Rotation

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 23, 2018: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and FK Crvena zvezda (Red Star Belgrade). (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Gomez side-lined, Trent Alexander-Arnold is likely to enter at right-back.

And with Lovren also out, Joel Matip is primed to continue alongside Virgil van Dijk.

Alberto Moreno could continue at left-back if Robertson is preserved with upcoming games in mind.

Jordan Henderson, James Milner and the impressive Naby Keita will hope to keep their midfield places.

But Wijnaldum should return after a midweek rest, with Fabinho another contender to come in.

Xherdan Shaqiri will look to build his goal-scoring display at Turf Moor, and fit-again Adam Lallana offers another option.

Having produced a goal and assist in two outings, Divock Origi will hope for another chance in attack, as will Daniel Sturridge.

But after doing the business from the bench at Burnley, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino seem set to be recalled.

Rafael Camacho is likely be involved in the matchday squad again and will hope that a first taste of top-flight action comes his way.

 

Liverpool’s Potential Lineups vs. Bournemouth

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 5, 2018: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is another tricky selection as Klopp needs to keep things fresh while ensuring the Reds maintain winning form to take a rare chance to put extra pressure on Man City.

Such an opportunity is likely to inspire a stronger lineup than deployed at Burnley, especially where Liverpool’s attack is concerned.

Indeed, Firmino and Salah should both start after beginning on the bench at Turf Moor, and could do so in a front three completed by Shaqiri – with Origi and Sturridge providing back-up.

Fresh legs will be needed in midfield and Wijnaldum could provide them, joining Henderson and Keita, who should be given a chance to build on his excellent midweek showing.

The defence somewhat picks itself given those who are missing and the welcome return of Robertson.

In a straightforward swap, the Scotsman should replace Moreno to give the Reds’ what is currently the first-choice back-four available.

Setting up in a 4-3-3 seems the wise option, best suiting this starting XI and allowing some attacking options to at least be kept fresh in Mane’s absence.

While it’s certain a stronger starting XI will feature at the Vitality Stadium, Klopp could take the chance to experiment slightly.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the German mentioned how Alexander-Arnold can’t be expected to play every game now Gomez is out, before teasing “I have a plan” to navigate this.

With the first-choice right-back sure to be needed against Napoli and United, we could see Klopp’s secret strategy in action on Saturday.

Playing Fabinho or Milner there are options, but blooding Camacho, who impressed in the role in pre-season, could be Klopp’s grand plan and there is arguably no better time to do it.

Using Camacho at right-back would also allow Fabinho to inject further freshness in midfield.

The Brazilian could do so along with Wijnaldum to complete a central unit with Henderson, preserving in-form Keita for a vital showdown with Napoli.

A lunchtime kick-off at Bournemouth presents another tough fixture on the road, and the Reds will need an accomplished and clinical performance to earn a vital victory.

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