GRÖDIG, AUSTRIA - Friday, July 23, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and FSV Mainz 05 at the Greisbergers Betten-Arena. (Pic by Jürgen Faichter/Propaganda)

Keita and Elliott link up and Kelleher returns – Picking 2 Liverpool XIs vs. Mainz

Liverpool take on Mainz in their third pre-season friendly of the summer on Friday, with Jurgen Klopp given the opportunity to tinker with his side due to host of options.

The Reds will be looking to build and improve on their 1-1 draws with Wacker Innsbruck and Stuttgart in midweek as they take on Klopp’s former side Mainz this evening.

A trip to Grodig and the 3,500-capacity Greisbergers Betten-Arena should see Liverpool take to the field with a stronger side than before, looking to seal victory over their Bundesliga opponents.

Klopp plans to make changes throughout the ties, and could be boosted by the return of a number of players, though doubts remain over at least two.

Here’s how Liverpool could line up in either half of their clash with Mainz.


Team News

There is little in terms of team news from Liverpool’s camp in Saalfelden beyond an update on Caoimhin Kelleher, who missed the first two friendlies with a knock.

Kelleher is now back fit and is set to be involved against Mainz, with it likely that Loris Karius drops out having been drafted in against Wacker Innsbruck and failing to impress.

Klopp has also revealed he “would be surprised” if Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are available to feature, while Diogo Jota and Andy Robertson should return too late to take part.

Nat Phillips, Curtis Jones, Marcelo Pitaluga, Ben Woodburn and Mateusz Musialowski all sat out the opening two friendlies but it is assumed they are able to be involved on Friday, along with Neco Williams and Harry Wilson.

Goalkeepers: Adrian, Kelleher, Karius, Pitaluga, H.Davies

Defenders: Konate, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Tsimikas, B.Davies, R.Williams, Phillips, Koumetio, N.Williams, Beck, Bradley

Midfielders: Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Woodburn, Cain, Clarkson, Morton

Forwards: Salah, Mane, Minamino, Origi, Elliott, Wilson, Gordon, Musialowski

* Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Diogo Jota and Andy Robertson are unlikely to be involved.


Liverpool XIs vs. Mainz

Klopp has already confirmed he plans to use two different XIs for the game, with 11 changes set at half-time, and it would make sense to name a stronger side to start.

That would mean the pre-season first-choice goalkeeper Kelleher takes his place between the sticks, while there can be hopes of seeing Ibrahima Konate partnering Joel Matip at centre-back.

Neco Williams could come in at right-back to allow Trent Alexander-Arnold to captain the second-half XI, with Kostas Tsimikas the most likely option at left-back.

James Milner can anchor the midfield alongside the exciting duo of Naby Keita and Harvey Elliott, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could lead the line again, flanked by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Kelleher; N.Williams, Matip, Konate, Tsimikas; Milner, Keita, Elliott; Salah, Mane, Oxlade-Chamberlain

If Klopp does make wholesale changes at the break, Adrian should take over from Kelleher as Liverpool’s No. 2 and No. 3 regain sharpness while Alisson enjoys his post-Copa America break.

With Alexander-Arnold poised to captain the side again, the returning Phillips could line up alongside Rhys Williams at centre-back, with young Owen Beck the next viable candidate at left-back.

Leighton Clarkson and Jake Cain should keep their places in midfield but the energetic Tyler Morton could drop out despite impressing against Wacker Innsbruck, with Jones likely to step in.

Kaide Gordon would be a great option on the right after his sparkling display on Tuesday, with Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi likely starters next to him.

Musialowski would be an eye-catching addition, however, and could feasibly start over Gordon.

Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, R.Williams, Beck; Clarkson, Cain, Jones; Gordon, Minamino, Origi

With those two sides available, Liverpool can expect a strong display against Klopp’s former club, while the manager will have a number of interesting options on the bench.

Along with Morton and Musialowski, the surplus Reds would comprise of Karius, Woodburn, Pitaluga, Wilson, Billy Koumetio, Conor Bradley, Ben Davies and Harvey Davies.

There can be few conclusions drawn from an early pre-season friendly, but Liverpool are getting closer to full strength in terms of personnel and can hope for a comprehensive win in Grodig.