With a final place to secure, Jurgen Klopp will have plenty to consider as his side prepare for their second game in the space of three days – but will we see only one change?
The Reds secured another emphatic win over the weekend to see them roll into a new week with momentum and confidence, which they will need to progress in two domestic cup competitions.
Liverpool take with them a one-goal advantage from the first leg, though Klopp and Co. will know the Cottagers will be out to quickly wipe out that lead.
So, with this the second game in three days, how could the Reds line up at Craven Cottage?
Stepping in for Klopp on press conference duties, Pep Lijnders offered an update on the squad ahead of the trip to the capital:
- “No issues” for Curtis Jones, who is fit to start after hamstring scare
- Andy Robertson WILL be part of the squad
- Wednesday too soon for Trent and Szoboszlai, weekend the target
- Tsimikas needs “probably two more weeks” before training return
Liverpool’s XI vs. Fulham
Klopp has yet to make only a single change between games throughout the season so far, but he could be tempted to do so on this occasion with Jones now deemed fit.
After the winter break, this side took some time to settle, but they more than looked the part in the second half, and there should be few qualms in allowing them to pick up from where they left off:
- Kelleher to replace Alisson in goal
- Conor Bradley to remain at right-back, with Joe Gomez on opposite flank
- Elliott keeps place ahead of Ryan Gravenberch
- Diogo Jota leads the line with Nunez to his left and Diaz to his right
This is how the Reds would shape up:
Kelleher; Bradley, Konate, Van Dijk, Gomez; Mac Allister, Elliott, Jones; Diaz, Nunez, Jota
On the other hand, there could be a tweak in system to 4-2-3-1, that is accompanied by a total of three changes from back to front.
There is also the option of Klopp looking to play Konate and Virgil van Dijk for one half each, though it being a semi-final may put him off.
Admittedly, that would reduce the options off the bench when it comes to an experience attacking threat, but Liverpool ought to be confident of this team getting the job done:
- Quansah takes over from Konate after sitting out last two games
- Mac Allister and Jones double-pivot
- Gakpo in the No. 10 role with Jota leading the line
This is how the side would look with those changes:
Kelleher; Bradley, Quansah, Van Dijk, Gomez; Mac Allister, Jones; Diaz, Gakpo, Nunez; Jota
It perhaps is a little harsh on Gravenberch that he is not included in either XI, but he will have a role to play on the weekend, as will several players returning from injury.
Liverpool taking a lead with them to Fulham is a major bonus, and they need to ensure they keep the home crowd quiet for as long as possible and force nerves and tension on their side of the pitch.
Klopp’s side have the strength and know-how to get the job done and seal another date with Wembley! Up the Reds!