LEIPZIG, GERMANY - Thursday, July 21, 2022: Liverpool's Stefan Bajcetic (L) and Darwin Núñez (R) applaud the supporters after a pre-season friendly match between RB Leipzig and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool lineup vs. Chelsea: Nunez returns and Bajcetic’s first league start?

Jurgen Klopp could change things up against Chelsea after several second-string players impressed in the FA Cup.

Many of Liverpool’s experienced first-teamers were poor again last weekend and the humiliation at Brighton, coupled with a promising performance from youngsters at Wolves, may have been the final straw for Klopp.

The general thinking among supporters is that it can’t get much worse than how the Reds played on their last Premier League outing, so there’s no harm in switching up the starting 11.

Klopp, however, might be more hesitant.

Here’s how Liverpool could line up against a Chelsea side battling their own form and injury woes.


Team news

There wasn’t much in the way of team news from Klopp’s press conference but the manager did confirm Nunez’s availability, as well as saying Stefan Bajcetic is ready for the first team:

  • Darwin Nunez is available after two-game absence
  • Liverpool “don’t have to be careful” with Bajcetic
  • Van Dijk, Diaz, Jota, Arthur and Firmino still sidelined


Liverpool’s XI vs. Chelsea

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, December 30, 2022: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While there’s been a clamour from supporters for some of the youngsters to remain in the side, Klopp is generally conservative in his team selection and is unlikely to rock the boat too much.

This could result in six changes from midweek and three from the side that slumped to defeat at Brighton.

Notably, Naby Keita could make his first Premier League start since the final day of last season after a positive showing on the right of Liverpool’s midfield:

  • Joe Gomez keeps his place alongside Konate
  • Cody Gakpo to move out wide as Nunez returns
  • Keita to finally start in the league ahead of Henderson

This is how Liverpool would line up:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Gomez, Robertson; Fabinho, Keita, Thiago; Salah, Gakpo, Nunez

Harvey Elliott and Bajcetic both impressed against Wolves, and there’s a chance that Klopp might decide to throw them in against Chelsea too.

And the manager did hint at 18-year-old Bajcetic’s involvement on the eve of the match, saying he did not have “to be careful” with his use of the youngster.

To accommodate both in their best positions, 4-2-3-1 could be an option, however, it would be a gamble given how easily Brighton played through that system in the first half last weekend.

Here’s how a 4-2-3-1 could play out:

  • A Thiago and Bajcetic partnership, first league start for 18 y/o
  • Elliott in a preferred forward position
  • Nunez then free to run in behind

This is how Liverpool could line up in this scenario:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Gomez, Robertson; Thiago, Bajcetic; Salah, Elliott, Gakpo; Nunez

It’s a tough team to predict this weekend but in general, Klopp refrains from making too many changes from his first XI for big games.

At the same time, Liverpool’s poor form may have already offset the supposed risk of playing someone like Bajcetic as things can’t get much worse!