2 Liverpool lineups vs. Crystal Palace as Elliott and Keita decision looms

With another injury added to an unwanted list, Jurgen Klopp has an interesting decision to make in his midfield as Liverpool return to Anfield to meet Crystal Palace.

The Reds did not get off to the start they had envisaged, with a spirited Fulham leaving Liverpool thankful they at least left Craven Cottage with a point.

It leaves Klopp’s side with plenty to prove in their first home game of the season and the manager will need to make at least one, if not a few changes to his XI.

Thiago‘s hamstring strain, which will keep him sidelined for at least a month, requires someone to step into his slot and Joel Matip is considered a doubt to continue a bad run with injuries.

There will also be a decision to make in attack between Roberto Firmino and Darwin Nunez, so how could Klopp set up his side against Palace?


Team News

The manager dished out injury news we didn’t want to hear but did provide a welcome fitness boost over two of his players:

  • Thiago‘s injury “not good”, Klopp “would prefer four” weeks than six
  • Keita available after missing Fulham trip due to illness
  • Tsimikas “might be back” after making training return on Friday
  • Matip a doubt after reportedly missing Friday’s session with ‘groin problem’
  • Kelleher, Konate, Ramsay, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jota all sidelined


Liverpool’s XI vs. Palace

Darwin Nunez squad number 27. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Thiago‘s absence is an unwelcome and untimely blow and it leaves Klopp with a decision to make in his midfield, whether it is a straight swap or a mix-up.

Naby Keita, James Milner, Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho are to be considered but the left-sided midfield role favours the two first mentioned.

Joel Matip‘s fitness doubt could yet force another change, while the Firmino or Nunez dilemma is to be considered once more after the Uruguyan’s game-changing appearance off the bench.

A change could then be expected in every department:

  • Alisson remains in goal, looking for his first clean sheet
  • If Matip is not risked/available, Joe Gomez is to partner Virgil van Dijk
  • Milner rewarded with place in midfield next to Fabinho and Henderson
  • Nunez to get the nod ahead of Firmino, with Mo Salah and Luis Diaz alongside

This is how the Reds could line up in their first league game at Anfield:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Milner; Salah, Diaz, Nunez

Alternatively, a greater shuffle in the midfield department could see Harvey Elliott handed his chance in the XI in place of the captain.

The 19-year-old was lively in his cameo at Craven Cottage and his position as the right-sided No. 8 could see Henderson drop to the bench, with Fabinho and Keita making up the rest of the midfield.

If Matip is to miss the game or Liverpool opts for caution, Joe Gomez‘s place is guaranteed in defence and with these changes in mind, Klopp could then refrain from including Nunez from the start.

Those tweaks would see Liverpool take to the field with:

  • Elliott taking over from Henderson on the right of midfield
  • Keita to occupy Thiago‘s vacated position
  • And Firmino leads the attack, with Nunez an option from the bench

That XI would look like this:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Elliott, Keita; Salah, Diaz, Firmino

In some ways, Klopp is restricted in his choices and much of his XI all but picks itself, but all eyes will be on the midfield when the team news is released.

Carvalho is also another option to consider but it could be that Klopp could look to make just the two enforced changes from the trip to Fulham, should Matip not prove his fitness.

This would keep Henderson in the starting lineup, as well as Firmino, but the option to use five substitutions throughout the 90 minutes does keep Klopp’s options open throughout.

The nine-day break will given the Reds time to reset and charge up the batteries once more, although Anfield will no doubt give them plenty of added spark on their return.