Liverpool are looking for an immediate response after dropping three valuable points in midweek at Leicester, with this league not forgiving of such results.
Further positive cases have depleted the Reds’ numbers and will ensure the team are without Klopp on the touchline, but Chelsea too are battling their own squad issues to add another layer of complexity to an already decisive fixture.
Here’s how Liverpool could lineup at Stamford Bridge.
There is still a lot of uncertainty for who can play a part in the first game of 2022 after three first team players tested positive:
- Andy Robertson remains suspended for the clash
- Three unnamed senior players tested positive; two on Thursday, one on Friday
- Absence of Alisson and Firmino in Thursday’s training means they could be the cases
- Thiago, Minamino, Phillips, Elliott and Origi remain sidelined through injury
- Klopp to miss fixture after positive test, Lijnders to take the helm
Liverpool’s XI vs. Chelsea
With the names of the positive cases unknown, it makes it tricky to predict just how Liverpool can lineup on Sunday.
“You will see on Sunday when you see the teamsheet it’s pretty clear who is affected,” Klopp said on Friday.
- Caoimhin Kelleher will take the place of Alisson if the No. 1 is absent
- Tsimikas remains at left-back alongside Alexander-Arnold, Matip and Van Dijk
- Keita to start in place of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho and Henderson alongside
- And Salah and Mane to start final game before AFCON with Jota leading the line
This would see the Reds set up like this:
Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Henderson, Keita; Salah, Mane, Jota
Other Possible Options
With such little information and the chance of further positive cases before kickoff, unpredictability is the word for fans and even for Klopp.
- Milner and Oxlade-Chamberlain options for midfield if other positive case is in the position
- Jones on return from injury and Covid could be tasked with important role
- Neco Williams, Gomez and Konate provide depth in defence, if and when needed
- And the likes of Owen Beck and Conor Bradley likely to take up bench spot
It’s far from ideal for preparations for what is a must-win game but the show, at this stage, is still to go on and Liverpool will need to put their best foot forward, irrespective of who is out.
Starting 2022 with a win and sending Salah, Mane and Keita away off the back of a victory is exactly what Liverpool need and they’ll have to dig deep to do just that to cut the deficit to Man City.