There are few bigger ways to return to action than making the trip to the Etihad Stadium, and that’s the task the Reds have in front of them.
A lot has been made of the early 12.30pm kick-off, from Klopp himself, but Liverpool have no choice but to navigate it as best they can – and team selection will play a huge part.
The Reds received a number of injury boosts during the break, it leaves decisions to be made across the defence, midfield and attack.
So, how could Liverpool lineup as they search for their first league win at the Etihad since 2015?
The break this time around brought positive injury news for a change:
- Konate, Gomez, Jones and Gravenberch all in training and available
- Bradley and Gordon back in training after long-term injuries
- Mac Allister returns from suspension
- Robertson, Thiago and Bajcetic still sidelined
Liverpool’s XI vs. City
With Klopp receiving a timely boost to his squad numbers, there are four big calls to be made as he plots City’s downfall.
At left-back, he must ask himself if it should be Kostas Tsimikas or Joe Gomez?; will Ibrahima Konate return in place of Joel Matip?; is it Curtis Jones over Ryan Gravenberch?; and who makes up the front three?
Recent comebacks and international exploits will be weighed up, which could favour Diogo Jota on the left wing, after only 90 minutes for Portugal, and Tsimikas at left-back.
Konate’s strength and pace will be advantageous to have, and as it was Jones’ place to lose prior to injury, he could step straight back in after three games out:
- Tsimikas at left-back, with Konate to partner Van Dijk
- Mac Allister returns alongside Szoboszlai and Jones in midfield
- Jota played nearly half of Diaz’s international minutes, gets the nod
- Nunez to create chaos up top and has Salah to his right
This would see the Reds line up like this:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Mac Allister, Szoboszlai, Jones; Salah, Jota, Nunez
Alternatively, the manager could look to continue with Matip as he has not battled fitness issues during the international break and will be well-rested after starting four of the last six.
The selection of Gomez would compromise the attacking threat on the left flank, but if Klopp wants to have a solid base and play narrow, he is the choice.
Cody Gakpo will be considered in midfield and attack, but the sense is Nunez has the position locked down, and Gravenberch is further up in the pecking order on the left now that he is back to fitness.
Finally, it could be hard to overlook Diaz, who will be bursting with confidence after two goals for Colombia:
- Matip and Gomez to join Alexander-Arnold and Van Dijk in defence
- Gravenberch returns after two games out
- Diaz back in for his first league start since the Merseyside derby
Those tweaks see the Reds shape up as follows:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Gomez; Mac Allister, Szoboszlai, Gravenberch; Salah, Diaz, Nunez
Liverpool can end their eight-year wait for a league victory at Man City, but Klopp must ensure his side takes the game to them, they can be beaten and the Reds are very much capable of that.
There are some big calls to be made and little surprises us when it comes to Klopp’s selection these days, though, first off, you hope he does place trust in Nunez up top.
We cannot rely on others to take points off City, we have to do it ourselves. Into these, Reds!