GENK, BELGIUM - Wednesday, October 23, 2019: Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (L) celebrates scoring the first goal with team-mate Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between KRC Genk and Liverpool FC at the KRC Genk Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fabinho returns, Ox to start? – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Genk

Jurgen Klopp is expected to make a number of changes to his starting lineup when Liverpool meet Genk in the Champions League, the only question is how many?

The Reds made just one change in their late win over Aston Villa from the side who overturned an early deficit against Tottenham, having been afforded the opportunity to rest a host of senior figures for the midweek League Cup clash with Arsenal.

Fabinho was the man to drop out as Klopp opted for caution over his midfield general with a Premier League suspension looming large, and while Adam Lallana was given the nod to take his place, the Brazilian’s nine-day break will come to an end on Tuesday.

Klopp has a plethora of players to choose from for a clash which provides the chance for the Reds to move one step closer to the last 16, with only two games in Group E remaining following Genk’s visit.

There could be several changes in store with Man City on the horizon, so here’s a look at Liverpool could take to the field against Genk at Anfield.


Team News

Thankfully, the Reds emerged unscathed from their clash at Villa Park with the same players at Klopp’s disposal over the weekend available for selection against Genk.

It means Joel Matip and Xherdan Shaqiri remain on the sidelines as they continue to recover from their respective injuries.

And as it will be Liverpool’s third game in nine days, with a five day break then afforded to the team ahead of hosting Man City, Klopp has indicated that he will look to inject “a couple of fresh legs” without making sweeping changes where one “cannot recognise the team” anymore.

Such a move throws doubt over Mohamed Salah‘s selection as he continues to feel the effects of the ankle injury sustained against Leicester, whereby he was unable to train with the team prior to the clash with Villa.

Since being forced from the field late in the piece against the Foxes, the Egyptian has missed one league fixture and has been withdrawn with 85 and 65 minutes on the clock respectively in his last two Premier League outings, and a prolonged rest would do him no harm with the weekend in mind.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 2, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the pre-match warm-up before during the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Divock Origi will, therefore, have his name in contention after a starring role against Arsenal and a late cameo on Saturday, while Rhian Brewster could also come under consideration for a place in the matchday squad.

Although Klopp insisted in his pre-match press conference that he was in “no mood” to think or talk about City just yet, the game at hand provides the opportunity to do just that.


Liverpool’s XI vs. Genk

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 19, 2019: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' applauds the travelling supporters after the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Matip unavailable and the desire for change at the forefront of his mind, Klopp could look to reinstate Joe Gomez at centre-back in place of Dejan Lovren having featured for just 122 minutes since his appearance off the bench in Belgium.

It would see the England international reunited with Virgil van Dijk at the heart of defence from the off for the first time since the 4-3 win over Salzburg in early October.

After missing the win at Villa with City in mind, Fabinho is expected to return to rediscover his rhythm in the middle of the park – an area of the field which could also see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and James Milner all push for selection.

And following a bright cameo at Villa and three goals and an assist in his two games prior, the former is likely to take to the field, with Milner sitting alongside him as both Jordan Henderson, who was not seen at Liverpool’s training session at Melwood on Monday, and Gini Wijnaldum are held back.

Lallana’s previous injury woes are unlikely to see him be given the nod for his third game in six days.

Moreover, the formidable front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Salah could yet take to the field together – but question marks remain over whether the latter should be included with his ankle still proving problematic.

Alisson; Trent, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Mane, Firmino

The Reds should have enough firepower to overcome a Genk side who conceded six goals on the road to Salzburg without the Egyptian, which would in turn hand Origi the chance to play against his former club alongside Firmino and Mane.

Meanwhile, at the back, Klopp could keep the crux of his defence from the win at Villa the same and look to instead make a sole change at left-back, with Andy Robertson afforded a timely break having played 1323 minutes of a possible 1560 so far this season.

It would mean Milner would be the man to step into his position and again feature at full-back against Genk having covered for Trent Alexander-Arnold in the previous meeting.

And changes across all areas of the field could be completed with Fabinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain playing alongside Wijnaldum – who would be the only midfielder to retain their place from Saturday.

Alisson; Trent, Lovren, Van Dijk, Milner; Fabinho, Wijnladum, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Origi, Mane, Firmino

Changes are inevitable at Anfield, but the exact amount remains to be seen as Klopp continues to keep his cards close to his chest.

Either lineup should be able to get the job done, but with Man City on the horizon, a rest for Salah and a return for Fabinho seems likely as fresh legs and rhythm become a priority for both Tuesday and Sunday’s games.