Much-changed Reds & a debut for Minamino – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Everton

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Liverpool host Everton in the FA Cup third round on Sunday afternoon, with Jurgen Klopp in line to hand Takumi Minamino his Reds debut.

It was yet another win to add to the collection on Thursday, as Jurgen Klopp‘s side eased their way to a serene 2-0 win over Sheffield United at Anfield.

It means Liverpool have still dropped just two points this season – a statistic that is almost impossible to comprehend.

Premier League focus makes way for FA Cup duty this weekend, as the Reds are pitted against Everton for the second time in three seasons in the competition.

The Blues will fancy their chances of finally ending their 20-year wait for a win at Anfield, with Carlo Ancelotti making a flying start as manager.

Here’s how we think Liverpool could line-up at Anfield on Sunday.

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 10, 2019: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' shoots during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds’ injury problems are starting to mount up, even though rival supporters like to suggest otherwise, meaning vast changes are certainly on the cards on Sunday.

Naby Keita (groin) was injured in the warm-up on Thursday evening, meaning he joins fellow midfielders Fabinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the sidelines.

Fabinho is back running, however, so his return is edging closer all the time.

Centre-back pair Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren are still missing after lengthy absences, while Nathaniel Clyne is out for the foreseeable future.

Xherdan Shaqiri is also expected to miss out on Sunday through a thigh injury – a shame, considering he would likely have started the game.

 

Liverpool’s Starting XI vs. Everton

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 7, 2019: Liverpool's substitutes Harvey Elliott (L) and Curtis Jones during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp has a dilemma on his hands, with the magnitude of a Merseyside derby undeniable.

The Liverpool boss has stated that he won’t allow his emotions to take over, though, suggesting he will rest numerous key men on Sunday.

He did the same in the league fixture last month, which didn’t pan out too badly.

Adrian is set to start in goal, while Neco Williams and James Milner look likely to give Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson the afternoon off at full-back.

Nat Phillips has returned from a loan spell at Stuttgart and he is in line to come straight back into the team, potentially alongside Ki-Jana Hoever.

Not playing Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk would be a risk, but more important matches lie ahead, and they are the only fit senior centre-backs.

In midfield, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum are in need of a breather, which should mean Adam Lallana takes up the No.6 role.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 2, 2020: Liverpool's new signing Japan international Takumi Minamino before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Sheffield United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Curtis Jones feels a shoo-in to start in the middle of the park, but perhaps most exciting is a debut for Minamino.

Liverpool’s new signing watched from the stands against Sheffield United, but this an ideal chance to hand him his Reds bow.

Assuming Minamino starts in an attacking midfield position, that would then mean Harvey Elliott, Rhian Brewster and Divock Origi make up the attack.

Risking Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino feels uncalled for and they could make an impact from the substitutes’ bench, if required.

Brewster is expected to leave on loan after the game – he would love to sign off in style before a move to the Championship:

Adrian; Williams, Hoever, Phillips, Milner; Lallana, Jones, Minamino; Elliott, Brewster, Origi


There are some supporters who will be left disgruntled by such a huge amount of changes, though, considering the opposition.

Any defeat to Everton hurts and Klopp will be criticised if a weakened team is beaten, regardless of his many achievements as Liverpool boss.

There is the option of picking a few senior figures, considering Liverpool don’t play again until a week on Saturday, away to Tottenham.

Van Dijk is as undroppable as they come and Klopp may feel his vast experience is key alongside someone of Phillips’ lack of maturity.

Similarly, Robertson is fit enough to start yet another game, which would then push the evergreen Milner into the midfield.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 19, 2019: Liverpool's goal-scorer Adam Lallana 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)

Lallana and Jones are almost definite to start, and with Milner joining them in the middle of the park, Minamino can display his versatility further forward.

The Japan international is capable of thriving in a front-three and adopting a left-sided berth could get the best out of him.

He could easily play on the right, though, with Elliott or Origi on the opposite flank and Brewster leading the line:

Adrian; Williams, Phillips, Van Dijk, Robertson; Lallana, Milner, Jones; Elliott, Minamino, Origi


It will be fascinating to see what team Klopp goes with – given his starting lineup against Everton in the league, anything feels possible.

The boss has merited Liverpool supporters’ complete trust, so his lineup should be judged after the final whistle, not before it.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is now available to pre-order exclusively on This Is Anfield.

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