Jurgen Klopp could restore Harvey Elliott to his starting lineup to take on the side he suffered his horrific ankle injury against, with Liverpool likely to rotate against Leeds.
Liverpool vs. Leeds
Premier League (26), Anfield
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
The Reds took to the field with seven changes as they hosted Norwich on Saturday, and though it needed intervention from the bench for the second game in a row, they came through as comfortable victors.
Against both Inter Milan and Norwich, Klopp flexed the muscle of his squad as he change the game with his substitutes, while allowing key names to rest during a crucial period.
With Leeds to come ahead of the League Cup final against Chelsea this week, the manager has another big decision to make regarding his lineup.
And though three points are necessary to close on Man City in the title race, it is likely changes will be made again.
In a largely narrative-led press conference, Klopp gave little away in terms of team news:
- Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino have “no chance” of featuring
- But rest of the squad are fit and trained after the Norwich win
Liverpool’s XI vs. Leeds
It is a given that Klopp will rotate his side for the visit of Leeds, but the question of how many alterations is as yet unanswered.
The most likely changes will come in defence and midfield, with a number of key players expected to return to the fold:
- Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson to return at full-back
- Fabinho and Thiago to replace Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita
- Klopp could use Elliott after misfiring display from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
- Absence of Jota and Firmino makes unchanged attack likely
With those alterations, Liverpool could line up like this:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Elliott, Thiago; Salah, Diaz, Mane
However, the psychological impact of Elliott’s long-term ankle injury in the 3-0 win at Elland Road back in September could prompt Klopp into a rethink.
And while Joel Matip‘s roving runs could cause havoc in a Leeds midfield that struggled against Man United on Sunday, there is a case to argue for Ibrahima Konate to return to the side.
So Klopp could weigh up the following:
- Konate to come in alongside Alexander-Arnold and Robertson
- Henderson could keep his place next to Fabinho and Thiago
- Divock Origi also a starting candidate if Luis Diaz is rested
With those changes, Liverpool would take to the field as below:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Origi
It should be seen as a resounding positive that Klopp is able to make so many changes but still be presiding over an 11-game unbeaten run including eight consecutive victories.
But it certainly makes predicting the Liverpool lineup a much tougher task than in months gone by.