After a poor display in the 3-3 draw with Brighton, Jurgen Klopp faces a decision as to whether he takes Trent Alexander-Arnold out of the limelight in Liverpool’s Champions League meeting with Rangers.
Many had hoped that the Reds’ 2-1 victory over Ajax, their final game before the international break, would prove to be a turning point, but Saturday’s performance suggests it was another false dawn.
Liverpool do, at least, have the opportunity to put things right quickly, with an all-British Champions League meeting with Rangers coming just three days later.
With the club’s injury list down to four senior players as things stand, Klopp has options to work with, particularly in attack, but it’s his use of Alexander-Arnold that will be in the spotlight.
The Liverpool boss must weight up whether dropping his right-back to the bench will do him more harm than good.
Here, we look at two ways the Reds could line up against Rangers.
There were no significant injury updates from Klopp’s pre-match press conference.
- Caoimhin Kelleher & Ibrahima Konate could make squad following injury
- Darwin Nunez may be in contention to start after post-international break “DOMS”
- Andy Robertson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita & Curtis Jones remain out
Liverpool’s XI vs. Rangers
If you asked Alexander-Arnold, there’s no way he’ll want to be taken out of the team, and given there’s no like-for-like replacement, there’s every chance he’ll continue at right-back.
However, Klopp has the option to make changes in other areas, especially in attack, with all five senior forwards fit and available.
If, as expected, the Liverpool boss elects to rotate, the XI could look like this:
- Alexander-Arnold to retain starting spot
- Harvey Elliott to replace Henderson, who has only recently recovered from injury
- Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz to come in for Firmino and Fabio Carvalho
This is what the Reds’ team would look like:
There is, though, a scenario where Klopp feels the need to protect Alexander-Arnold, given the intense criticism he has received in recent weeks.
If he is benched, Gomez may be the best natural replacement, having performed well at right-back at times last season.
Taking that into account, could this be how Liverpool line up?
- Gomez to replace Alexander-Arnold
- Elliott in for Henderson
- Nunez in attack alongside Salah and Diaz
That would leave the team looking like this:
With another 12 games between now and the mid-season break for the World Cup, Klopp will know that he must rotate in the coming weeks.
The biggest challenge will be finding the right times to chop and change certain players, and not burning out those he doesn’t feel can be ‘rested’ too often.
The Reds need to find a way to win football matches, and let’s hope that starts on Tuesday night.