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Unchanged Reds or another shot for Phillips? – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Tottenham

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Jurgen Klopp will be looking for an immediate response from Liverpool with his options once again slim for the visit of Tottenham, with Joel Matip‘s fitness key.

The Reds let an opportunity go begging on the weekend as they could only salvage a draw at Fulham, meaning Spurs’ similar misstep earlier that day went unpunished.

The performance in the capital from Klopp’s side was one which was undeserving of more than a point as they were duly punished for their sluggish start.

A three-day break is once again what Liverpool must navigate for the top of the table clash, one where a win for either team would provide a welcome early buffer with a third of the season gone.

Injuries continue to leave the Reds with limited options and it could be a case of a few, if any, tweaks for the boss against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham.

 

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Another game and another injury concern to consider, with Joel Matip presenting another defensive conundrum after his withdrawal at half-time on Sunday with a back complaint.

Jordan Henderson slotted into the position in his absence and Klopp had looked to ease concerns post-match having stressed “there is a chance” Matip is fit for Spurs’ visit.

And on Tuesday, the manager insists he too has to play the waiting game as “doesn’t know” if the centre-back will recover in time, with club physios having been on constant hand.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his return to the matchday squad for the first time this season at Fulham but after seeing no action, he is unlikely to be in the starting lineup at Anfield.

Meanwhile, James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri remain on the sidelines as they continue their recovery from respective fitness issues, but Naby Keita could return after joining the team in their extended warm-up on Monday.

In addition to the long-term absences of Virgil van Dijk, Thiago and Joe Gomez and Diogo Jota, who was added to the list after last week’s Champions League clash, it leaves Klopp with few options to chop and change his squad.

 

Liverpool’s XI vs. Spurs

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 31, 2020: Liverpool’s Nathaniel Phillips during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

The biggest talking point heading into the fixture is the availability of Matip, with the centre-back having succumbed to another fitness complaint.

If fit, he is a certain starter as the Reds look to nullify the threat of Harry Kane and Heung-min Son who have combined for 19 of Spurs’ 24 league goals this season.

It would then mean that Klopp could name an unchanged lineup for the first time this season with Alisson well and truly back in the fold after a vital return at Craven Cottage.

While much of the team were far from their best last time out, there is no better time then to be given the chance to make it right with little delay.

It would mean Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are up against one of the league’s best defences as Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Curtis Jones look to control midfield:

Alisson; Trent, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mane


But should Matip be unavailable, Nat Phillips could be drafted in once more having been named on the bench for the last two league games against Wolves and Fulham.

The 23-year-old has taken looked the part in his two appearances to date and with a clear strength in the air and a more matured physical presence, he is preferred over Rhys Williams.

It would see Henderson retained in midfield after his cameo in the position over the weekend, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson looking to strike back after seeing their influence restricted on the weekend.

As aforementioned, with options slim the rest of the team would remain the same with caution opted over Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keta, while Takumi Minamino will once again hope to make an impact from the bench:

Alisson; Trent, Phillips, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mane


While still very much in the infancy of the season, there is no doubting the importance of this fixture and many will expect a comeback from the last outing having shown under Klopp that they do not make the same mistake in succession.

The limited options for the XI makes this a nervy one, but at Anfield and with 2,000 fans behind them Liverpool are more than capable of securing all three points.

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