Saturday’s humbling defeat at Man City could force Jurgen Klopp into taking decisive action with his Liverpool team selection against Chelsea.
Since thrashing Man United, Liverpool have lost three consecutive games, and travel to Stamford Bridge looking to get their unlikely top-four chase back on track.
In their way are a Chelsea team that lost to Aston Villa at the weekend, though Graham Potter’s sacking could trigger a typical upturn in results that we often see when a coach departs.
A win for Liverpool would move them to within five points of fourth place, temporarily at least, while a defeat would all but end their Champions League qualification hopes.
Here’s how Liverpool could line up.
Here’s what Klopp revealed in his press conference:
- Luis Diaz is “not ready for this game” but is “in training”
- Thiago was “in normal team training” on Sunday but is “not available”
- Klopp also said: “There will be changes, definitely”
Liverpool’s XI vs. Chelsea
With just two full days between Saturday’s loss to Man City and Tuesday’s trip to Stamford Bridge, Klopp has said that his team “cannot work really on the pitch” during that time.
He kept his cards close to his chest, saying “in this moment, I have no clue who I can line up,” but added that “there will be changes, definitely.”
With that in mind, it is a difficult one to predict.
Saturday saw the Reds line up in a 4-2-3-1 with Mohamed Salah as the furthest man forward, though he often drifted right with Diogo Jota filling the central space.
We could see the same again on Tuesday with Darwin Nunez occupying Jota’s role off the left, leaving Cody Gakpo to drop and link play.
Out of possession, Harvey Elliott naturally tends to sit deeper than the other attackers.
- Starting with a 4-2-3-1, similar to against Man City
- Elliott again playing on the right of a four-man attack
- Nunez returns to the team, replacing Jota on the left
This is how Liverpool would line up with that change:
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson; Elliott, Gakpo, Nunez; Salah
There is the potential for more alterations, though, as well as a possible shift back to a 4-3-3.
Kostas Tsimikas could replace Andy Robertson after the Scotland captain put in a poor showing against Man City, while Elliott becomes a midfielder.
- Tsimikas to replace Robertson as only defensive change
- Elliott drops into midfield alongside Fabinho and Jordan Henderson
- Nunez, Gakpo, Salah forward line reprised at Jota’s expense
Here’s how the alternative formation could look:
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Henderson, Elliott; Salah, Gakpo, Nunez
With Arsenal on the horizon, Klopp knows he must make changes.
He may say it is rotation, but given some of the poor performances at the Etihad, players could just as easily be dropped.