Ox retains place to stick to winning formula? – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Wolves

Liverpool are swiftly back in action with a trip to Wolves on Thursday, where Jurgen Klopp could again resist changing a winning formula.

The Reds’ trip to Wolves comes four days after the 2-0 win over Man United, where a 30 point gap was opened up on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

Not to mention the result also ensured Liverpool’s 16 point lead atop of the table remained intact, with Man City’s win at Sheffield United on Tuesday cutting it back down to 13.

Next on the agenda, however, is a testing trip to Wolves who proved a tough side to breakdown in the reverse fixture in late December.

And while Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have won just once in all competitions since that Anfield meeting, it came in the form of a comeback from two goals down at Southampton on Saturday.

Liverpool have welcomed back a number of faces from injury, but is Klopp set to stick to the same XI or make a minor tweak?


Team News

Klopp has almost a full complement of players to call upon for the trip to Molineux in what is a welcome sight after a lengthy spell with limited options.

Joel Matip and Fabinho both returned to the matchday squad against Man United, with the latter making a 10-minute cameo late in the piece.

The manager insisted the Brazilian is “getting closer and closer” to a return to the starting XI, but refused to be drawn into whether it will come at Wolves.

Dejan Lovren returned to training on Monday after close to two months on the sidelines but is likely to be overlooked this time out with the FA Cup meeting at Shrewsbury on Sunday in mind.

The fourth round tie is set to see a host of changes which would present an invaluable opportunity for regular members of the XI to be handed a respite, meaning a strong XI is expected on Thursday.

Klopp, however, will still be unable to call upon Naby Keita and James Milner, while Xherdan Shaqiri is also sidelined after picking up a “minor calf injury” pre-United.


Liverpool’s XI vs. Wolves

Although there will have been just over three days rest for the players after their victory over United, Klopp could look to make just a single change.

While Matip is back in contention he is likely to be saved until Sunday, meaning the regular back five of Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson will all take to the field.

The defensive unit has kept seven successive clean sheets in the topflight, and an eighth would equal the club record set from December 1922 to Match 1923 and again in October to December 2005.

After making a late appearance from the bench, Fabinho could be re-introduced from the off and take his place alongside the ever-impressive duo of Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson.

It would not be a surprise move from Klopp to see the Brazilian start considering his history with remaining coy over team news, but it would inevitably mean Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would drop to the bench, with Adam Lallana also waiting in the wings.

And as ever, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah are set to lead the line – where at least one of the three have found the net in the last three league games.

Alisson; Trent, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson; Salah, Mane, Firmino

Klopp, however, does have the luxury to name an unchanged XI for the third successive game.

It would present another chance for Oxlade-Chamberlain to stake his claim ahead of Lallana, with Wijnaldum and Henderson occupying the rest of the midfield line.

There could potentially be a temptation to hand Henderson a rest as he worked himself into the ground against United, with either Fabinho or Lallana the men likely to take his spot should that be the case.

The skipper, who is in fine form, has played 892 minutes from Liverpool’s last 11 games, excluding the FA Cup win over Everton.

Elsewhere, the back five and front three would remain the same, with Divock Origi, Matip and Takumi Minamino all available from the bench.

Alisson; Trent, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Mane, Firmino

While Wolves’ recent form has been hit and miss, they will no doubt provide a stern test for the Reds as their display against us earlier in the season proves.

But Liverpool are full of confidence and momentum and any team they send out will be backed to return to Merseyside with all three points.