Naby back in midfield & full-strength defence – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Arsenal

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Jurgen Klopp could make changes once more for Liverpool’s midweek trip to Arsenal as the Reds look to get back to winning ways.

An irritating combination of goalkeepers making ridiculous saves and referees making ridiculous calls prevented the Reds taking all three points at the weekend.

A draw against Burnley ended Liverpool’s hopes of a 100 per cent season at home, but Arsenal away represents another chance to get closer to a record haul of points in a season.

Three wins will give the Reds 102 for the campaign and the new record, so a strong side and a big performance are both needed as we head to the Emirates.

After a couple of changes to the regular side at Burnley and chances for youth to impress, this could be a case of Klopp reverting to type.

 

Team News

Klopp confirmed that there are no new injury issues and James Milner is “pretty safe for the Chelsea game”, but not available for Arsenal.

It should, therefore, be mostly the same squad from the weekend, with the likes of Curtis Jones and Neco Williams probably back on the bench.

Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip are the absentees for the rest of the season.

With a full week between this game and the next, there’s no reason for Klopp to feel he must juggle his side from the start.

 

Liverpool’s XI vs. Arsenal

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, June 21, 2019: Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 236th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While there might be question marks further upfield, it seems entirely likely that the back four will be the back four.

Both full-backs have been excused recently from playing every 90 minutes, with Williams earning back to back starts on either side of the defence.

That will see Trent Alexander-Arnold come back in at right-back for the Arsenal game in a full-strength back line, with Fabinho and Alisson ahead and behind, respectively.

If the boss wants nothing less than a full-scale assault on Arsenal and proof that the Reds are going for the record, then Naby Keita will be the extra midfielder brought in after some great recent form.

The attack is the attack.

Alisson; Trent, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Keita, Gini; Salah, Firmino, Mane.


On the other hand, we have seen Klopp rest all his key players along the past few games, including both full-backs being on the bench and two of his three starting forwards.

There’s a chance that, this time, Mo Salah might be asked to bide his time.

He’s chasing the Golden Boot, but there’s a case to be made for him having a big impact later in the game against an ageing and tiring defence which is known for lapses in concentration.

Takumi Minamino could get another opportunity in the front line and be asked to run the Gunners ragged, with Salah getting the last half-hour or so to use his pace and lethal touch to finish off the game and preserve himself from another full, intense 90 minutes.

There might also be a chance for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to start against his former side, back in his preferred role of central midfield rather than as part of the front line.

Alisson; Trent, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Ox, Keita; Minamino, Firmino, Mane.


Arsenal have shown signs of improvement under Arteta, no question, but the players are the same ones: capable of errors, constantly crumbling when put under pressure and lacking the overall quality to compete at the top.

If the Reds are on their game and keep asking questions of the Arsenal defence, our penultimate away game of the season should yield three points to Liverpool.

🏆  A collector’s item for every fan – the official LFC matchday programme for the day the Reds lift the title is available to pre-order now.

 
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