For the final time in the group stages, the Reds are under the Anfield lights aiming to secure their place in the knockout stages with a victory.
They returned from their biggest test against City with a draw, and the taxing clash will see the manager ring the changes once more, with his ‘midweek team’ set to take centre-stage.
The rotated Reds have not always been able to get the job done without help from the bench this season, but the hope is that will change on Thursday as we build into the busiest time of the year.
With injury and rotation in mind, here is how the Reds could lineup against LASK.
There were two big updates we were waiting for from Klopp and he provided them on the eve of Thursday’s match:
- Alisson out injured, “probably” not back until after Crystal Palace (Dec 9)
- Diogo Jota will be out “little big longer” than Alisson
- Andy Robertson, Thiago and Bajcetic still on comeback trail
Liverpool’s XI vs. LASK
We are used to mass rotation in these fixtures and it could be that only Trent Alexander-Arnold is retained from the weekend, with 10 changes taking place around him.
Caoimhin Kelleher is a no-brainer in light of Alisson‘s injury, though he would’ve started regardless, while Ibrahima Konate, Jarell Quansah and Joe Gomez will be fresh – the latter taking the left-back role.
Eighteen-year-old Ben Doak last featured in Toulouse and is eager to score his first goal for the senior team, and he ought to have plenty of opportunities to do so in this lineup:
- Alexander-Arnold only player retained
- Konate, Quansah and Gomez to occupy other defensive positions
- Endo, Elliott and Gravenberch to start fifth game together
- Doak to join Diaz and Gakpo in attack after their sub appearances at City
That would see the Reds lineup as follows:
Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Quansah, Gomez; Endo, Elliott, Gravenberch; Doak, Diaz, Gakpo
With Alexander-Arnold out of the XI, Gomez would shift to right-back and 19-year-old Luke Chambers would make his third appearance on the left.
- Gomez to start at right-back, with Chambers at left-back
- Jones on left of midfield as eyes are cast to the next fixture
Those tweaks look like this:
Kelleher; Gomez, Konate, Quansah, Chambers; Endo, Elliott, Jones; Doak, Diaz, Gakpo
With a Thursday-Sunday turnaround to think about, mass changes are all but a forgone conclusion – especially with Klopp acknowledging he “will lineup a team who has fresh legs.”
In light of Alexis Mac Allister‘s comments that he struggled to keep his eyes open on return from international duty, a number of players could do with a rest and this is the prime time to do it.
A win for Liverpool will guarantee their place in the knockouts with one game remaining, and you sense either of these lineups are capable of getting the job done – let’s hope in a straightforward fashion!