Liverpool have confirmed a 23-man squad for the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea in Istanbul on Wednesday and Sadio Mane is primed to start the game.
The Reds beat Norwich 4-1 in their opening Premier League game last Friday, having lost on penalties to Man City in the Community Shield the previous weekend.
Now comes a third game in a third competition already in 2019/20, as the Reds take their position as European champions and face Frank Lampard’s side who, last year, won the Europa League under Maurizio Sarri.
Jurgen Klopp will want another good performance and another bout of 90 minutes in the legs of his players—but he’ll also be hoping to land another trophy, however minor some may see it, to boost confidence and the feeling of relentless winning in the squad.
To that end, the boss has named his 23-man squad for the match—and has hinted that Sadio Mane is ready to start after his Friday night cameo against the Canaries.
“I think he would have been ready to start on Friday, but after five days and having two players on the pitch with pretty much no pre-season up front you have to look a little bit at how you can do it,” Klopp told the club website.
“It’s not clear from the first second which three players you have to change, especially with them, which kills all your plans when the goalie leaves the pitch that early. So I think it was the right thing to do, but he’s for sure fresher now, fitter now, and yeah, he is ready.”
While the Senegalese forward might then be expected to start, it remains to be seen whether he comes in as a straight replacement for Divock Origi on the left to reunite the first-choice front three, or whether one of the other two are given a little extra recovery time after having shortened pre-seasons of their own.
Elsewhere, there will be a change in goal, of course, with Alisson having not travelled due to his calf injury. Adrian will be the starting goalkeeper, with Andy Lonergan included in the squad along with young stopper Caoimhin Kelleher.
Alisson isn’t the only one to miss the trip; Dejan Lovren is cited as “ill” by the club and therefore doesn’t travel, but with news of him closing in on a transfer to Italy emerging, it was always unlikely he’d play.
As the Reds can name 12 subs, just as in the Champions League final, all 23 members of the party will be involved on the night.
Along with Kelleher, that means young forwards Rhian Brewster and Harvey Elliott are in the match day squad and in line for a debut, while Ki-Jana Hoever is the youthful option as far as the defence goes.
The likes of Ryan Kent, Yasser Larouci and Sepp van den Berg are not included.
Liverpool can make three subs during the game and a fourth if it goes to extra time.
Liverpool squad for the UEFA Super Cup
Goalkeepers: Adrian, Lonergan, Kelleher
Defenders: Van Dijk, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Matip, Hoever
Midfielders: Fabinho, Milner, Keita, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana
Forwards: Firmino, Mane, Salah, Origi, Shaqiri, Brewster, Elliott