LEEDS, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 12, 2021: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Leeds United FC and Liverpool FC at Elland Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Predicting Liverpool’s lineup vs. Atletico with Fabinho return & centre-back swap

Jurgen Klopp has plenty to weigh up as he plots the downfall of Atletico Madrid, with key decisions in defence, midfield and attack for Liverpool.

The Reds didn’t show their best selves over the weekend having relinquished yet another lead this season, with plenty of areas to address heading into the Champions League fixture.

The midfield was an area for concern but with Fabinho and Thiago both taking part in training, they offered a welcome boost ahead of Atletico’s visit.

And it gives the manager some much-needed options to plot Atletico’s downfall.

Here’s how Liverpool could lineup at Anfield.


Team News

The focus was primarily on the possible returns of Fabinho and Thiago and Klopp offered some welcome news:

  • Fabinho and Thiago both “in contention” to feature
  • Midfield pair trained “completely normal” their role remains uncertain
  • Keita “will be out for a while” with a hamstring injury, as too Milner
  • Klopp acknlowdged “injuries [in this] period of the season [are] completely normal.”


Liverpool’s XI vs. Atletico

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 9, 2021: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (L) celebrates with team-mate Kostas Tsimikas after scoring the second goal during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético Osasuna at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

One can expect a few tweaks from the side who drew with Brighton and it would not be a surprise to see them come in each department.

With Fabinho back in the mix, he could return straight to the fold after just two weeks out while Thiago provides welcome depth from the bench:

  • Matip to replace Konate at the back
  • Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk and Robertson complete the back five
  • Fabinho to take back No. 6 role to unleash Henderson next to Jones
  • And Jota back in the XI over Firmino, alongside Salah and Mane

This is how the Reds could then lineup:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Jones; Salah, Mane, Jota

Alternatively, if both Fabinho and Thiago are deemed to only be an option from the bench, it could be a case of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being the benefactor of the situation:

  • A switch at left-back with Tsimikas allowing Robertson a break
  • Konate drops out after two league starts, with Matip returning
  • Henderson, Jones and Oxlade-Chamberlain to start as midfield trio
  • And an unchanged forward line of Salah, Mane and Firmino

Liverpool would then set up like this:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Henderson, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Mane, Firmino

Ultimately, the significant decision will come down to whether Fabinho is deemed fit enough to start and then it is a case of any needed tweaks but Liverpool are, thankfully, not struggling for depth elsewhere.

It’ll be another tussle and Luis Suarez will be throwing his weight around but should Liverpool remain defensively sound and disciplined, another win is certainly in the reckoning.