It has been quite some time, Klopp’s first season, in fact, that Thursday night football has been part of our regular schedule and it all gets underway at LASK.
LASK, Linzer Athletik-Sport-Klub, ply their trade in Austria and they are currently third in their division ahead of Liverpool’s arrival.
The expectation heading into the Europa League campaign was that the Reds would use the full depth of their squad, and while that could still be true, Klopp is not planning on anything “experimental.”
With that in mind, how could the Reds take to the field against their Austrian opposition?
- Trent Alexander-Arnold still absent from training
- Thiago also remains unavailable
- Note: Adrian took part in training but is ineligible for Europa League
Liverpool squad in training on Wednesday
Goalkeepers: Allisson, Kelleher, Adrian*, Jaros, Mrozek
Defenders: Van Dijk, Gomez, Konate, Matip, Quansah, Robertson, Tsimikas
Midfielders: Szoboszlai, Mac Allister, Endo, Gravenberch, Bajcetic, Jones, Elliott
Forwards: Salah, Gakpo, Nunez, Diaz, Jota, Doak
* Ineligible for Europa League
Liverpool’s XI vs. LASK
While the manager is not to throw any curveballs, he can still ring the changes and name a strong lineup – a balance he will be eager to find with West Ham‘s visit to come on Sunday.
- Kelleher in goal as Gomez continues at right-back
- Virgil van Dijk returns from two-game suspension, with Quansah alongside
- Endo starts as the No. 6 next to Harvey Elliott and Gravenberch
- Doak makes first start of season
With nine changes from Wolves, this his how the Reds would look:
Kelleher; Gomez, Quansah, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Endo, Elliott, Gravenberch; Doak, Diaz, Nunez
With Quansah and Ibrahima Konate in the wings, it would not be surprising to see the manager split game time at the back – notably with the captain and Konate.
Liverpool have the strength to rotate and add their first three points to the board, but that does not mean they can afford to underestimate their opponents – though this XI can get the job done:
- Alisson is No. 1 and that rings true in Europe
- Matip to sit alongside Van Dijk on his return
- Robertson retained at left-back, carrying momentum from Wolves
Those tweaks would see Liverpool set up as follows:
Alisson; Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Endo, Elliott, Gravenberch; Doak, Diaz, Nunez
It is going to be an interesting evening on Thursday, and do not forget it is the earlier kick-off time of 5.45pm (BST)!
A handful of changes will be expected, but it would not be all that surprising to see Klopp attempt to retain some consistency in his lineup and keep them to a minimum – especially for the first group game.
Time will tell, but there will be plenty of excitement if Doak and Gravenberch both feature in the XI.
Up the Reds.