Henderson & Shaqiri to start as Klopp rotates – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Wolves

20 December 2018

Jurgen Klopp faces an interesting selection dilemma for Liverpool’s clash with Wolves and has a key decision to make in how heavily to rotate.


Avoiding complacency is Liverpool’s task at Molineux, to ensure big wins over Napoli and Man United are followed by three more vital points.

There’s also a first proper chance to put pressure on Man City—with the opportunity to open a four-point gap on Pep Guardiola’s side—which the Reds must take.

Fresh minds and legs will be needed to keep performance strong after two huge back-to-back displays, and Klopp is sure to make changes in an attempt to ensure it happens.

But the boss faces some vital calls in how many alterations to make and, more importantly, who to rotate as the relentless schedule continues.

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

 

Team News & Selection Choices

Thankfully there are no fresh injury concerns, meaning Klopp has near enough the same squad as against Man United at his disposal.

In fact, the group has been boosted as James Milner confirmed he is back after sitting out Sunday’s win with a minor hamstring issue.

All else is as it was before with defenders Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold all still out.

Klopp’s rotation policy is likely to be in operation again and there are several options available to bring in.

Super-sub Xherdan Shaqiri is pushing for a start after his heroics against United, while Jordan Henderson will hope to be restored to midfield.

Nathaniel Clyne could continue at right-back after an impressive display on his return from injury.

The likes of Alberto Moreno, Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi all provide further alternatives.

 

The Potential Lineups

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 25, 2018: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It could be expected that every player keeps their place after such a superb performance and result against United.

But it’s far more likely that we will see Klopp continue to rotate shrewdly, with the long game in mind.

Certain Reds have been rotated more than others, as Klopp has bedded in Naby Keita, Fabinho and Shaqiri while consistently keeping his midfield and centre-back pairing fresh throughout.

But after two extremely intense games back-to-back, in which the core of the team remained similar, it could be that we now see a couple of mainstays given a rare break.

Gini Wijnaldum—rested for a full game only once all season—could be one of the main beneficiaries of a chance to recharge before huge games with Arsenal and Man City.

So too could Roberto Firmino, who has played in every game either from the start or as a sub.

Resting the key pair could see a return to 4-3-3 as a trio of Henderson, Milner and Keita can deputise in midfield to also allow Fabinho to be rotated.

The front three could reshape, with Shaqiri slotting on the right to join Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who would play as the main striker.

With an unchanged back four continuing and Clyne keeping his place after an impressive first game back, the Reds could start with this XI:

This will be a very tough game against a Wolves side that has picked up the most points against the top six of any team outside that group.

And this could alter Klopp’s thinking on potentially resting his main men, with perhaps a better chance to do so coming on Boxing Day against Newcastle.

Instead, Klopp could go once again with the subtle switches we’ve consistently seen, sticking closer to his regular 4-2-3-1 lineup and keeping his key players in the side.

In defence, Milner could replace Clyne with it potentially a big ask for the latter to start successive games so quickly after returning.

In midfield, in-form Wijnaldum should continue but Henderson could take over from Fabinho.

And the Reds could therefore have a full-power attack in operation, with all of the new Fab Four playing from the start.

Liverpool have done some fantastic work recently to ensure positive positions both in Europe and the Premier League.

It’s vital those efforts are now backed up with another crucial win to put some serious pressure on Man City for the first time in the title push.

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