Liverpool take on Burnley at Anfield tomorrow, in their second game of the new Premier League season. It marks the return of the famous Anfield atmosphere as a capacity crowd will be allowed in for the first time in over five hundred days. Liverpool saw off Norwich City 3-0 at Carrow Road last week and will be looking to go top of the table, even if temporarily for now.

There are several welcome selection headaches for manager Jurgen Klopp after an all round impressive performance against the Canaries. Some big names in midfield have become available for selection too, having come through a behind closed doors friendly unscathed. Fabinho is expected to miss out unfortunately, having been granted compassionate leave after the unfortunate passing of his father saw him miss training this week.

Klopp still has a plethora of options across the squad to pick from. In goal, Alisson Becker is expected to start. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kostas Tsimikas will continue at full back, with the Greek international making his full home Premier League debut as Robertson again misses out with an ankle complaint. Virgil Van Dijk and Joel Matip are also expected to continue their fruitful partnership, with Konate and Gomez keeping a watching brief once again.

Virgil Van Dijk is expected to continue his comeback

Midfield offers the biggest array of options as Klopp can choose to go with only two in a 4-2-3-1 formation, incorporating all four forwards. We expect that to be a break glass option if the result isn’t going his way in the second half though. We predict the usual 4-3-3 setup, with Keita being the only guaranteed pick as it stands. Milner could reprise his role at the base of midfield but Burnley’s distinct height advantage should be kept in mind.

The Clarets won’t offer much threat in open play but will look to do all their damage on set pieces and second balls after a long ball to target man, Chris Wood. As such, the triumvirate of our defensive midfielder and two centre backs have to have the necessary height to deal with that threat. We expect the skipper, Jordan Henderson, to come in for his first game of the season as a result. Alongside Hendo and Naby for the last slot is a toss up between Milner, Thiago and Oxlade-Chamberlain.

We expect Klopp to go for the option that offers the most cutting edge going forward as Liverpool will comfortably have north of 70% of possession. Ox carries the most goal threat of the trio but he disappointed against Norwich. Thiago offers control and incisive passing but it may be a stretch for both himself and Hendo to start after being left out completely against Norwich just last week.

Klopp is notorious for easing his players in and we expect that to mean Thiago on the bench. That leaves Milner and Ox, and even though the veteran was the better performer last week, we predict Ox to get the nod again due to the superior goal threat he carries. He didn’t show it last week and he can ill afford another lifeless showing with the competition in midfield heating up.

The skipper is expected back in the lineup

In attack, it could be Salah, Jota and Mané again but we reckon Firmino’s excellent performance off the bench will see him start ahead of the Portuguese. His footballing skills will be needed to pry open a loaded Burnley defence, with Jota’s ruthless finishing ability, a priceless option off the bench this time.

Our predicted team: (4-3-3)

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Keita, Salah, Firmino, Mané.

Subs: Kelleher, Konate, Gomez, Milner, Thiago, Elliott, Jones, Minamino, Jota.

In what is a very strong bench, Divock Origi misses out again. As do Xherdan Shaqiri and Nathaniel Phillips who look set for moves away. We expect a strong lineup regardless who gets picked. That’s the beauty of having as strong a squad as we have. A win will be the objective as we seek to go top of the table for the first time this season.

With a returning Anfield crowd, against the opposition who ended our previous home record, it is sure to be a cracking encounter with us flying out of the traps. A quick goal will be just what could open the floodgates.



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