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2 Liverpool lineups vs. Chelsea with late League Cup final test for Diogo Jota

Liverpool are expected to go all out for the League Cup on Sunday, with Jurgen Klopp facing a tough decision over which players to leave out against Chelsea at Wembley.

The Reds made it to the League Cup final after victories over Norwich, Preston, Leicester and Arsenal, with 29 players featuring along the way.

For much of the tournament, Klopp utilised his fringe figures and young prospects to navigate a busy fixture list and still ensure progress, but at Wembley, he is likely to revert to full strength.

Klopp still has a number of big decisions to make, however, not least due to the club keeping quiet over whether or not Diogo Jota will be fit to take part.

So how could Liverpool line up for the League Cup final?

 

Team news

Pepijn Lijnders took pre-match duties, and provided an update on two key players:

  • Roberto Firmino “will not be available” due to adductor injury
  • Jota “isn’t ruled out” but “will be a challenge”
  • As it stands, rest of Liverpool squad is fit to play
  • Caoimhin Kelleher to start – “He earned the right”

 

Liverpool’s XI vs. Chelsea

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, February 10, 2022: Liverpool’s Dioga Jota claps to fans after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by Lindsey Parnaby/Propaganda)

As it stands, there is only one confirmed starter for the final, that being Liverpool’s immaculate cup goalkeeper Kelleher.

Kelleher has clocked the fifth-most minutes of any Reds player in this season’s League Cup (270), but there are doubts over whether many others from the most-used XI will start.

Instead, Klopp is expected to turn to experience and proven strength for the final:

With two changes from the 6-0 win over Leeds in midweek, Liverpool could line up like this:

Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Diaz, Mane


The manager could face the tough decision to leave out those who got Liverpool to the final, with the likes of Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones likely to be disappointed.

But if Jota can prove his fitness, Klopp could well turn to the striker who struck three times – including twice in the semi-final – in three outings on the way as part of his starting lineup.

Another change could come at centre-back, with Ibrahima Konate sharing the minutes with Matip throughout the tournament so far:

  • Konate could replace Matip in otherwise unchanged defence
  • Fabinho, Henderson and Thiago midfield almost certain
  • If Jota returns, Diaz could make way

With those two further alterations, the Reds would line up like this:

Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Jota


As harsh as it may seem, the chance of clinching silverware is likely to see Klopp turn to his key players for the final, with those who made it possible reduced to the bench.

But the glory of lifting the trophy will be shared throughout the squad, and starting the likes of Salah, Alexander-Arnold, Thiago, Van Dijk and Fabinho gives Liverpool the best chance of doing so.

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