Despite the international break potentially derailing Liverpool’s momentum, the Reds picked up from where they left off against Watford to kickstart their relentless run-in.
Now, it’s all eyes on the European Cup and Benfica – a tie that is positioned between two huge meetings with Man City in two different competitions.
But there will be no questioning where Liverpool’s focus lay when they walk out in Lisbon on Tuesday night, with a fully fit squad hungry to lay down a marker before their Anfield return.
Here is how Klopp could set up his side against Benfica.
With no new issues arising from the win over Watford, it means Liverpool have no absentees for the trip to Portugal, you read that right!
- Naby Keita back in training after minor knee injury; game likely too soon
- Alexander-Arnold “ready” after being named on bench on Saturday
- A fully fit, 28-man squad trained at Kirkby; no new injuries to report
Liverpool squad in training pre-Benfica
Defenders: Van Dijk, Matip, Konate, Gomez, R. Williams, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Tsimikas
Forwards: Salah, Mane, Jota, Diaz, Firmino, Minamino, Origi
Liverpool XI vs. Benfica
The manager confirmed he has a “full squad” available for the trip to Benfica, allowing for numerous possibilities of the best XI to get the job done and to manage minutes.
- Alexander-Arnold returns while Konate replaces Matip in defence
- Fabinho back in XI with Henderson and Thiago on either side
- Diaz gets the nod on the left, with Salah and Firmino lining up alongside
The team could then look like this:
A question to consider is if Mohamed Salah could be handed a respite? Klopp acknowledged the No. 11 and others would not ask for a break, leaving it up to him to decide in “specific moments.”
And this could be that time given the depth available and the access to five substitutions, with Salah having looked fatigued after a relentless schedule for club and country:
- With the knock to his head not serious, Matip could keep his place
- Thiago starts but with early substitution in mind; Keita a candidate to replace
- Mane and Diaz on the flanks with Jota central; offering Salah a rest
Those tweaks see the Reds shape up as follows:
Considering the options Klopp has, it would not be all that surprising to see him opt for a small curveball in his XI but there is certainly enough firepower to get the job done either way.
Liverpool will know not to take Benfica lightly despite their league struggles this season and while the Reds have not been firing on all cylinders, they know how to get the job done ugly if the situation calls for it.