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2 Liverpool lineups vs. Man City as Roberto Firmino decision looms

Roberto Firmino is the only Liverpool player considered a doubt for Sunday’s all-important trip to Man City, and his availability could decide Jurgen Klopp‘s lineup.

The Reds make the short journey to Manchester this weekend with a huge advantage in the Premier League title hunt up for grabs.

Beat City, and Liverpool will move two points clear at the top of the table with seven games left to play, while dealing the reigning champions a big setback in the process.

It may not decide the title race, as Klopp has already stressed, but Sunday’s clash is undoubtedly one of the most significant in the context of the campaign.

To that end, Klopp needs to get it right when it comes to his starting side at the Etihad.

 

Team news

Friday saw Klopp hold his pre-match press conference, while the training session soon afterwards gave an update on the squad available:

 

Liverpool’s XI vs. Man City

LONDON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 16, 2022: Liverpool's goal-scorer Roberto Firmino (L) and Diogo Jota celebrate after the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Firmino has played City more times than any other side in his career (17), and has started in all but one of those games, scoring five goals and assisting five more.

It is a shame, then, that the Brazilian may not be able to start at the Etihad, despite losing his regular spot in the side this season.

But if Firmino is available – and there remains every chance he is – it stands to reason that he will be considered by Klopp as part of a familiar lineup:

That would align with Klopp’s admission that “big-game experience” should be considered, and see Liverpool line up like this:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Firmino


However, even if he is available, the increase of options in attack means Firmino is far from guaranteed a place in the side on Sunday.

Diogo Jota, who started in the 2-2 draw at Anfield in October, is an alternative, while there could be a temptation to start Luis Diaz as a wildcard option on the left.

Meanwhile, the success of a Fabinho, Thiago, Naby Keita midfield against Benfica in midweek may convince Klopp to leave out his captain:

  • Little chance of experimentation in defence over Matip
  • Keita could be rewarded with consecutive starts
  • Jota can lead the line if Firmino is out or overlooked

Those changes would see Liverpool line up like this:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Keita, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Jota


The variety and depth of the Liverpool squad makes predicting the lineup for any given game a tough task, but it seems likely that Klopp will go for the tried and trusted against City.

Whether Firmino’s possible absence will throw a spanner in the works, however, remains to be seen.

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