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Just 1 tweak for Wijnaldum’s return? – Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Burnley

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Jurgen Klopp could look to keep things as settled as possible as the Reds aim to carry their momentum into another must-win road trip, this time at Burnley on Wednesday night.

There is no denying the feel-good factor oozing through the club following the late, late winner off the head of Alisson, but there is still a job to do.

The trip to West Brom will have provided a timely reminder of what is on the line as the Reds’ top-four hopes had flickered having struggled to find the net.

But, thankfully, the penultimate game arrives with the Reds remaining in the driver’s seat of their own destiny in the pursuit of Champions League football.

Burnley, who have not won at home since January 27, will be buoyed by the return of 3,500 of their home faithful to add another layer of complexity to the test ahead.

A couple of faces are expected to return, but Klopp could look to for consistency to pick up all three points.

 

Some welcome positives…

The manager hasn’t always had the greatest selection hand this season and the trip to Burnley will follow much in the same vein.

Thankfully, there are no fresh concerns to emerge from that memorable win at the Hawthorns and the Reds may, in fact, be boosted by the return of two senior figures.

“Milly will train [today], is that then enough to be involved? I will see. Ox is back,” Klopp said in his press conference on Tuesday.

And while James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are expected to return to the fold, there will still be no Naby Keita having yet to return team training.

Finally, there was some positive news in regards to Diogo Jota having a “tiny, tiny chance” to play a part against Crystal Palace on the final day as his foot injury is not as bad as first feared.

 

Liverpool’s XI vs. Burnley

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 16, 2021: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker (R) celebrates with team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold (L) and Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' (R) after scoring the winning second goal with a head in injury time during the FA Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion FC and Liverpool FC at The Hawthorns. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite finding it tough-going against West Brom and with another physical battle ahead, Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams are likely to keep their place for the fourth game in a row.

The pair struggled and were at fault for the Baggies’ opener but their limitations are what they are and they’ve shown they can learn from it all – and a big performance is needed in what could be an unchanged back-five.

It would allow Fabinho to remain in the No. 6 role, but the hope will be that the three-day break frees him up after a somewhat sluggish outing over the weekend.

Thiago would then continue to pull the strings further afield, next to the only change in Gini Wijnladum – who would replace Curtis Jones after his rusty return to the XI and be restored as captain.

The front three would then remain intact, with Mo Salah looking to break a five-game duck against the Clarets next to Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, R. Williams, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Firmino


Alternative Options

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 28, 2021: Liverpool's Curtis Jones during the FA Premier League match between Sheffield United FC and Liverpool FC at Bramall Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With a number of missing faces to consider, the aforementioned lineup appears the most likely but Klopp does have a slight degree of flexibility for his starting lineup:

  • Jones to be given another chance in unchanged XI
  • Shaqiri to offer different option, potentially in place of Mane
  • Unlikely, but Fabinho back into defence with Milner straight back in or with Jones taking third midfield spot

There’s no denying the good feeling that will roll into Wednesday, but as Klopp says it’s a “semi-final” and nothing but a win will do to ensure 10,000 Reds will be in attendance for the final.

Without a home win in their last 10, Burnley are there to the taking but a more clinical Liverpool will be needed and a ruthless one at that with 3,500 Clarets to be present.


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