Liverpool look to put a disappointing night in the League Cup behind them as they host Brentford in the Premier League, with two game-changing options likely to come in.
The Reds were frustrated on Thursday night, with 10-man Arsenal holding firm, but more could have been expected from Jurgen Klopp‘s side.
Klopp watched on as his players continually struggled to create against a low block, with the absence of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane felt, particularly late on as Takumi Minamino missed the chance of the tie.
That complacency cannot be on show as Liverpool return to league action, hoping to keep up the pace at the top of the table despite Man City‘s lead.
It is almost certain that Klopp will make at least two changes at Anfield, so how could the Reds line up?
In his pre-match press conference, Klopp revealed he expects the “same squad available,” while giving the following updates:
- “Knocks” for Robertson, Van Dijk and Milner – “all will be fine”
- Origi “not be too far away” but knee injury keeps him out
- Thiago, Phillips still out; Elliott back next week
Liverpool’s XI vs. Brentford
While Klopp would not admit it explicitly, there were some telling signs in Liverpool’s slow, uninspired performance in the League Cup semi-final.
Two of those who struggled were James Milner, who picked up a knock, and Minamino, who in the absence of Salah and Mane was tasked with providing cutting edge in attack.
It is likely that both will drop out of the side against Brentford, with Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the beneficiaries – though Kaide Gordon is also an option.
However, it remains to be seen how Klopp sets his players up, with one possible lineup as below:
- Unchanged back line with Alisson, Trent, Matip, Van Dijk and Robbo
- Oxlade-Chamberlain to take Milner’s place next to Fabinho and Henderson
- Jones returns in left wing run; Jota on right, Firmino up front
That would see Liverpool shape up like this:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Jota, Jones, Firmino
There is a chance that Klopp instead opts for Oxlade-Chamberlain in attack, while a change at centre-back is not out of the question:
- Konate an option as Matip rotates out; defence otherwise unchanged
- Jones to start left side of midfield
- Oxlade-Chamberlain on right wing, Jota shifted to natural left-sided role
With those changes Liverpool could line up as below:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Jones; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jota, Firmino
Despite the gloom after the result in midweek, Liverpool should still head to Anfield on Sunday confident of taking three points against a Brentford side who have won just three of their last 13 league games.
The flexibility and hunger of the two most likely changes, Jones and Oxlade-Chamberlain, could give them the edge they need to seal a win.