The first Merseyside derby of the season takes place at Goodison Park on Saturday, but will Darwin Nunez‘s return from suspension see him go straight into the Liverpool lineup?
The Reds are in better spirits than they were this time last week, after securing their first three points of the season with a 9-0 victory against Bournemouth, before a dramatic win against Newcastle on Wednesday night.
Jurgen Klopp will be hoping for another positive result when his side make the short trip to Goodison Park for the first Merseyside derby of the season on Saturday lunchtime.
So what sort of team should we be expecting to see face Frank Lampard’s side this weekend?
From Klopp’s pre-match presser on Friday, we know the following:
- New signing Arthur yet to receive international clearance
- Nunez back after suspension
- Jota could be involved after return to training
Liverpool’s XI vs. Everton
The big decision for Klopp is who replaces Henderson, after the Liverpool captain limped off with a hamstring injury against Newcastle that looks set to keep him sidelined for a number of weeks.
It was Fabio Carvalho who came on in his place and, given the fact the 20-year-old scored the winner, some will feel he has a good chance of starting at Goodison.
If that’s the only change, Liverpool would line up like this:
- Joe Gomez to carry on at centre-back
- Milner in for the injured Henderson
- The same front three, with Nunez on the bench
Could this be the side that starts the derby?
With Nunez and a handful of other players available for selection again, Klopp does have more options to rotate.
Gomez was one of Liverpool’s better performers against Newcastle on Wednesday, but given Liverpool’s busy fixture schedule, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see Matip reintroduced to the lineup.
Up front, Klopp must decide whether to unleash Nunez from the start, while Jota is likely to make the bench.
After being sent off for violent conduct against Palace, a Goodison derby perhaps isn’t the most ideal game for Nunez’s return, but the Uruguayan offers the Reds’ attack a different dimension that could ideal to face Lampard’s side.
If Klopp wanted to make more changes, the Reds’ starting XI could look like this:
- Matip in for Gomez at the back
- Milner in for Henderson
- Nunez to replace Firmino in attack
That would see Liverpool line up as follows:
Plenty to ponder, then, for Klopp.
The Liverpool boss has opted to make changes against Everton in the past, and with players returning, at least the bench should be looking healthier this weekend.
No bigger game than the derby. Up the Reds!