Fabinho back in, Lallana or Shaqiri to start? – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Fulham

16 March 2019

Jurgen Klopp will recall Fabinho to Liverpool’s starting lineup at Fulham, where Adam Lallana and Xherdan Shaqiri will also hope to be called upon.


Another decisive week has gone brilliantly so far with wins over Burnley and Bayern Munich, but the Reds look to make it perfect with victory at Craven Cottage.

Klopp and his squad will be buzzing after a historic result in Germany, but focus must be retained with the chance to go top of the Premier League and build a lead over Man City.

After a big night in Munich, Klopp could make select changes on Sunday to ensure the Reds are fresh and sharp to deliver another winning performance.

However, some untimely injuries have struck to key midfielders, leaving Klopp’s options for rotation in that area relatively limited.

So how could Liverpool’s starting XI look at Craven Cottage?

 

Team News

In his pre-match press conference Klopp confirmed Jordan Henderson is ruled out with the ankle injury that forced the captain off early against Bayern.

Naby Keita is a doubt due to a muscle problem, though his availability for matchday inclusion will continually be assessed.

Meanwhile, slightly worryingly, Sadio Mane wasn’t seen in Liverpool’s official training photos released on Friday.

There is no official word on an injury for the in-form Senegalese, so hopefully he is fit and available.

One big positive update came with Klopp stating that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be “100 percent fit” after the international break.

Until then, Oxlade-Chamberlain is not quite yet ready, with Rhian Brewster and Joe Gomez the only other known absentees.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 9, 2019: Liverpool's Adam Lallana during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp could make changes to his starting team and several Reds will be hoping to be called upon.

One of those is Adam Lallana, who is in contention for a second consecutive league start, while Xherdan Shaqiri will be hopeful of making an overdue return to the fold.

Options to freshen up the attack come in strike duo Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge.

And if Klopp wanted to conduct some rotation in defence, Dejan Lovren is available.

 

The Potential Lineups

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 11, 2018: Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The impending international break provides a chance to recuperate, so there is no expectation for wholesale changes at Craven Cottage.

Another full-strength Reds team will be deployed, but it would still be no surprise to see Klopp conduct some gentle rotation.

It is highly improbable that any switches will be made in defence or the forward line.

Indeed, what has established itself as the first-choice back five should remain—with Alisson protected by Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson.

The regular front three—assuming Mane is fine to feature—are all obvious starters too, which leaves the only question as to what goes between.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 11, 2018: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

One thing for sure is that Fabinho will start in the No. 6 role in Henderson’s absence—and it is just a case of which duo joins the Brazilian.

Sticking with Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner could be a risk after the Dutchman played all 90 minutes in Munich and the vice-captain played all but the last three.

Lallana could therefore enter for a second Premier League game running, replacing Milner who may feel the effects of a second start in quick succession.

That would see two changes made to the starting XI and see Liverpool start like this:

Alisson; Trent, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Lallana, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Firmino


For a must-win game against struggling opponents, Klopp could reshape with a more attack-minded 4-2-3-1 setup.

Ten of the starting 11 from the above lineup would start, but one key difference would be that Shaqiri enters the fold instead of Lallana.

Liverpool will almost certainly dominate proceedings at Craven Cottage, so an extra creative spark and genuine match-winner would be useful in the final third.

It therefore seems an ideal time to reintegrate Shaqiri—especially to help him rediscover form and confidence to be ready to contribute to a big end to the season.

The Swiss international would play on the right of the attack, with Mane hopefully on the left, Roberto Firmino at No. 10 and Mohamed Salah up top.

The reshuffle would mean Fabinho and Wijnaldum operate as a two-man centre, with Milner again making way:

Alisson; Trent, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Shaqiri, Firmino, Mane; Salah


It has been a fantastic week so far for Liverpool, but the Reds must follow the great work produced at Anfield and the Allianz Arena with another crucial victory at Craven Cottage.

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