Liverpool vs. Norwich City
FA Cup Fifth Round | Anfield
Wednesday, March 2, 2022 | 8.15pm (GMT)
The euphoria of Liverpool’s late win over Chelsea on Sunday evening, after two hours of football and 22 penalties, will need to be parked already.
Klopp has accepted that he will “have to make changes” for this tie, and there is a chance that the entire side that lines up in midweek is different to that which took to the field at Wembley.
So who could make the lineup against Norwich?
In his pre-match press conference, Klopp gave the following updates in terms of his squad:
- Thiago “not fit” – could miss next three games
- “We have to make changes, because we played 120 minutes”
- No update on Roberto Firmino, but unlikely to be available
Liverpool’s XI vs. Norwich
Given the toil at Wembley on Sunday, it is highly unlikely that any of the 10 outfielders who started in the final will keep their places against Norwich.
Instead, a very strong substitutes’ bench could be available.
One player who could be retained is Caoimhin Kelleher, given his status as Liverpool’s cup goalkeeper, but the strain of the final may see Klopp revert to Alisson – while in front of him, it could be a mix of youth and experience:
- Conor Bradley an option at right-back
- Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate and Kostas Tsimikas likely to start
- James Milner could captain as No. 6, joined by Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones
- Shortage of options on right could see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain called in
- Cup heroes Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi almost certain
This would see Liverpool line up like this:
Alisson; Bradley, Gomez, Konate, Tsimikas; Milner, Elliott, Jones; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Origi
However, there are other factors to consider, namely Bradley’s possible involvement in the UEFA Youth League last-16 clash with Genk earlier in the day.
If the right-back is deemed better off being involved in that European knockout tie, Klopp could turn to Rhys Williams for his first appearance of the season.
Furthermore, this game may be used to improve Diogo Jota‘s fitness, which could see Elliott drop out:
- If Williams starts, Gomez to shift to right-back
- Oxlade-Chamberlain may start ahead of Elliott
- Jota could join the attack, with Minamino on the right
Those alterations would see the Reds shape up as below:
Alisson; Gomez, R.Williams, Konate, Tsimikas; Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones; Minamino, Jota, Origi
Though they were given Monday off to recover, every precaution will be taken with those who started in an exhausting final, meaning this fifth-round meeting can be used to show off Liverpool’s squad depth.
It will then be up to those called upon – potentially including Williams on his first outing since May – to prove themselves against Premier League opposition.