Adrian in and a potential change of system? – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Bournemouth

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Bournemouth‘s visit could pave the way for a change in formations as Liverpool look to bounce back from a string of poor results.

The Reds are in the midst of their first blip of the season having lost three of their last four games across all competitions.

It precedes an all-important week which starts with Bournemouth‘s arrival in the Premier League before attention shifts to overcoming Atletico Madrid to progress to the next round of the Champions League.

Klopp’s side have been off the boil in every department in their recent run of games and they will be looking to right their wrongs against Eddie Howe’s side on Saturday.

With the week Liverpool have had, the relegation-threatened Cherries cannot be underestimated but recent history is in their favour and a chance to return to the winner’s circle awaits.

A change in personnel is for certain after a major injury blow and a different system could be on the cards as the Reds look to freshen things up at Anfield.

Here’s how Klopp could lineup his side against Bournemouth for the early Saturday kickoff.

 

Team News

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, February 18, 2020: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker reacts during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg match between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After a number of niggling injuries which kept a handful of players sidelined for the trip to Watford, Klopp’s outfield options have been boosted for Saturday’s early afternoon kickoff.

However, a major blow came in the form of a hip injury to Alisson which will rule him out of Saturday’s game and against Atletico, with the only assurance being that after “the international break he is back 100 percent.”

It comes as a major blow for the Reds, but Adrian has shown he has the ability to rise to the occasion when needed – winning all 10 of his league games for the Reds.

Moreover, Caoimhin Kelleher has also sustained an injury which will leave Andy Lonergan to occupy the position as second choice stopper.

Joe Gomez made his return against Chelsea after picking up a knock which ruled him out at Vicarage Road, while James Milner was similarly back in contention after a minor strain kept him out against West Ham and Watford.

Naby Keita, meanwhile, trained with the rest of the team having missed the last two games due to a sore hip in the latest of injuries which has impaired his ability to find rhythm and momentum in the side.

He could, however, be given the nod to make a start at Anfield as the Reds’ midfield in recent games has struggled to make an impact.

A place in the XI is out of reach for Jordan Henderson as the skipper continues to make steady progress on the hamstring injury sustained against Atletico.

The boss provided an update on the skipper ahead of the clash, saying he “has a chance” to feature against Diego Simeone’s side but will not be ready for the Cherries.

And Xherdan Shaqiri remains unavailable as his recovery from injury has yet to see him return to team training.

 

Liverpool’s XI vs. Bournemouth

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 30, 2019: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the Football League Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s formidable back five will again fail to lineup alongside one another after being separated for the first time in 11 games against Watford, with Adrian now to step into Alisson‘s shoes.

The Spaniard will sit behind Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson in search of his 11th league win from as many appearances – and will be eager for a confidence-boosting shutout to steer the Reds out of their current drop in form.

While Fabinho has been short of his exceptionally high standards since his return from a lengthy injury layoff, he needs the game time to find his rhythm and could again see Gini Wijnaldum at his side.

The third midfield role is open to the likes of Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita, but the latter has enjoyed a 100 percent winning record over the Cherries – with a goal and assist to his name in the previous meeting – which could be a motivating factor.

He is short of confidence and form but he is capable of being the man to inject the drive needed, whilst also providing a platform in which to raise his hand for selection against Atletico.

The usual front three would remain in place in search of ending Liverpool’s rare barren run in front of goal, with Klopp’s side having failed to score in three of their last four outings, in a side which would look like this:

Adrian; Trent, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Keita; Salah, Mane, Firmino


Alternatively, a switch in formations to 4-2-3-1 could be just the ticket to solidify the back-line and add a much-needed creative spark in the attacking half.

As aforementioned, Fabinho has struggled in recent times and Henderson’s absence has done little to smooth his transition back into the side.

A double-pivot, therefore, would offer greater coverage for the Brazilian and the defence, with both Wijnaldum and Keita vying for the spot.

The former gets the nod in this scenario as the system could be deployed against Atletico and as Wijnaldum is one of Klopp’s ‘big game’ players it would be of greater advantage to roll out a similar setup prior to their arrival.

This could then pave the way for Takumi Minamino to occupy the creative role in the advanced midfield position after providing a promising display at Stamford Bridge, with the usual front three settling in and around him.

Additionally, Robertson could drop out after looking fatigued both mentally and physically in recent games, paving the way for Milner to slot into the left-back position:

Adrian; Trent, Gomez, Van Dijk, Milner; Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Minamino, Mane, Firmino; Salah


While on paper Liverpool are strong favourites to collect all three points, there will be no room for complacency after the recent run of results.

It’s clear, however, that little tweaks need to be made and the use of the 4-2-3-1 shape could trigger a return to form and prove to be the best way forward, for the short-term at the very least.

Alisson‘s absence is a blow, but a chance to impress, move three points closer to the title and for many to stake a claim for a spot in midweek awaits.

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