Liverpool host Brentford tomorrow afternoon as the Reds return to Premier League action. Thomas Frank’s side come into this off a 4-1 defeat at Southampton on Tuesday, whilst Liverpool were held to a goalless draw by Arsenal two days ago. Here’s how we think Jürgen Klopp will line up.

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It’s pretty much the same squad available to the gaffer as the last match, with Van Dijk, Robertson and Milner all overcoming knocks. With the disappointment of Thursday still fresh in the mind, a response will be expected from the boys in red.

There’s little need for rotation with Covid related postponements ensuring the squad is relatively fresher than normal in this hectic December – January period. It will only be two or three changes at most from the side that started against Arsenal.

Alisson Becker will be in goal again, aiming to keep consecutive clean sheets for the first time since late November. Ahead of him, it could well be the same defence that started against Arsenal. Trent and Robbo will start at fullback with Matip and Van Dijk in the heart of defence.

Trent and Matip were taken off after 75 on Thursday as they recently recovered from Covid. Can they be expected to start again barely 72 hours after Arsenal? With only 3 subs in the PL we won’t have the luxury of taking off a CB to give him a breather. Konaté or even Gomez are options if there are question marks over Matip.

The midfield is where it gets interesting. I don’t expect Milner to start after that shocker on Thursday. Neither should Henderson who has quietly had some terrible performances recently to be honest. His ratings for his last 4 starts reads 2.5/10, 4.5/10, 6/10 and 5/10.

With Thiago, Keita and Elliott unavailable, Jürgen Klopp may feel the skipper is the best of the available options. Fabinho has also had below par performances in recent weeks but gets away with it because he’s our best option in the DM role.

Fabinho should start again tomorrow, with Curtis Jones surely a shoo in after his cameo last time out. On the right of midfield it’s a straight toss up between Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson. With Salah and Mané’s well publicised absence, I’d say put as many goal threats on the pitch as possible.

Curtis Jones is pushing for a start

Ox blows hot and cold but it’s hard to justify Henderson keeping his place in the side. A midfield overhaul is sorely needed in the summer. Harvey Elliott is reported to be resuming team training next week. It’ll take him weeks to get up to speed but at this rate, he walks into the team if he can find the form he showed pre-injury.

In attack, there’s little room to manouvre. Firmino, Jota and Minamino are the only fit forwards. Beyond them, you’re looking at playing Jones or Ox there or 17 year old Kaide Gordon who may lack the physicality to impact league games from the start.

The club knew AFCON would take place, they’re also aware Covid could easily rule out two of the three fit forwards on the day of the game. There’s also the question of where Jota plays. He looked lost on the right wing on Thursday night. His best position is through the middle but where does that leave Bobby?

It’s a puzzle that Jürgen Klopp and his coaching staff will surely be working on solving. Whether that is a formation change to a 4-4-2 diamond with Minamino and Jota pairing up in attack and Bobby playing a withdrawn role behind them, or a 4-2-3-1 with Bobby behind Jota and Ox out on the right wing.

A 4-2-3-1 really appeals but where does Jones fit in there? A Fabinho – Henderson double pivot feels natural. Ox’s pace may be needed on the right wing in that case, with Jota leading the line and Bobby playing off him. It then comes down to Jones or Minamino on the left wing.

In the spirit of putting as many goal threats on the pitch as possible, Minamino should get the nod. That would then mean Jones on the bench again, which is a tad harsh after his impressive performance from the bench against Arsenal.

Predicted team:


Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Firmino, Minamino, Jota.

Subs: Kelleher, Williams, Konaté, Gomez, Tsimikas, Morton, Milner, Jones, Gordon.


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