Liverpool’s Champions League qualification hopes hang by a thread and Jurgen Klopp must get his team selection right vs. Arsenal if the Reds are to stay in the top-four race.
The manager made six changes for Liverpool’s trip to Chelsea but Klopp is expected to return to his usual stalwarts as the league leaders travel to Anfield.
With Brighton, Newcastle and Man United winning in midweek, Liverpool’s chances of finishing in the top four dropped considerably.
The Reds are now 10 points behind Erik ten Hag’s Man United who sit fourth. A further 19 points ahead are Arsenal, who will be confident of leaving Anfield with three points for the first time since 2012.
Here’s how Liverpool could line up.
Here’s what Klopp revealed in his press conference:
- Thiago “might be available” but they “have to check how he feels today [Friday]”
- Luis Diaz “probably will not be involved for Sunday”
- Klopp said: “The plan with Luis is that he will be available 100 percent for Leeds“
- “Virgil [van Dijk] was completely normal, back in training”
Liverpool’s XI vs. Arsenal
Klopp explained that he “will make decisions about the team based on what” he “saw in training, so that opens the door for everybody.”
With that in mind, the manager is expected to go back to a more typical starting XI after making six changes against Chelsea.
Here’s what Klopp is likely to decide:
- Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold should regain their places as full-backs
- Harvey Elliott will likely replace Curtis Jones in midfield
- Cody Gakpo and Mo Salah should start ahead of Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota
- Van Dijk to return and replace Joel Matip
This is how Liverpool would line up:
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dik, Robertson, Fabinho, Elliott, Henderson, Salah, Gakpo, Nunez
Liverpool’s formation is flexible of course, and they could play a 4-2-3-1 with Elliott in a more advanced position.
An issue that could arise here is that Henderson and Fabinho have played a lot of football of late, due to Liverpool’s midfield injuries, and could be overrun by a youthful Arsenal side.
James Milner is the most likely man to fill one of the central midfield positions, with Curtis Jones also a contender.
Thiago could start but it is more probable that Klopp will ease him back into the team.
- Salah playing as the highest attacker
- Nunez drifting inside off the left as Salah naturally moves right
- Elliott and Gakpo required to do lots of defensive work
Here’s how this alternate formation would look:
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Elliott, Gakpo, Nunez, Salah
Whichever side Klopp decides to pick, it’s pivotal they have the energy to keep up with an Arsenal team that has suffocated opposition sides this season.
Liverpool will hope that, with the help of Anfield, they can gain the upper hand and do the same to Arsenal.