Liverpool are riding the wave of Wembley delight but focus is firmly on Crystal Palace, and with a break to follow will Jurgen Klopp opt for changes or his strongest possible XI?
The Reds sealed their spot in the League Cup final against Chelsea thanks to a Diogo Jota double, ending a six-year wait for a cup final at Wembley.
It serves as another welcome boost following on from the 3-0 win over Brentford, but now it has to be backed up at Selhurst Park as otherwise, it will be a long international break.
Klopp has doubts over the availability of two players for Sunday’s match, but at least one change is guaranteed from the week’s earlier trip to the capital.
Here is how the Reds could lineup against the Eagles.
There are two doubts for Liverpool on Sunday with time at a premium to state their case, while Harvey Elliott is making notable progress towards match fitness:
- “Something was not 100 percent right” with Matip at Arsenal, doubtful
- Oxlade-Chamberlain “hope and pray” he can train and feature after ankle injury
- No new injuries elsewhere, but Liverpool “got proper knocks” at Arsenal
- Elliott to be considered for selection after international break, like Thiago
Liverpool’s XI vs. Palace
With less than three days between this game and the last, Klopp will need to weigh up how many changes will be necessary to keep his side fresh and firing after a number of “knocks.”
But if all bounce back without any lingering concerns, one could expect three changes from the one who helped send Liverpool to Wembley:
- Alisson to return after Kelleher’s start in ‘his’ competition
- Konate could come in for Matip, who will benefit from a lengthy break
- Fabinho, Henderson and Jones remain midfield trio for third game in a row
- And Minamino could take over from Gordon next to Jota and Firmino
It would see the Reds take to the field like this:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Jones; Minamino, Jota, Firmino
If there is a greater need to add fresh legs, however, there could be a further two changes to the abovementioned XI – one in defence and the other in midfield.
Tyler Morton could be considered but Klopp has shown a liking to a certain veteran, even if Reds are not entirely in agreement:
- Tsimikas to inject fresh legs in defence alongside Konate
- Milner to enter the fray in place of Jones; Morton a contender for the position
- Front three could then still comprise of Minamino, Jota and Firmino
Those changes would see the Reds shape up as follows:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Henderson, Milner; Minamino, Jota, Firmino
There’s a number of options for Klopp to consider but with a 14-day break on the other side of full time, it would not be a surprise to see Liverpool keep changes to a minimum.
The front line all but picks itself with the manager unlikely to pile on the minutes for 17-year-old Gordon.
But after slotting in on the right-wing on Thursday, the question will be if Minamino remains there to allow for Jota to stay potent on his favoured left-wing.