LIVERPOOL VS MANCHESTER UNITED: PREDICTED LINEUP
Liverpool host Manchester United tonight with a chance to go top of the Premier League. The Reds are coming off the back of a 3-2 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup semi final, whilst United also defeated Norwich City 3-2 last time out. Here’s the predicted lineup for tonight’s clash.
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Jürgen Klopp has a fully fit squad available at the minute and will once again pick his strongest side. He was able to rotate against Benfica last week, so his charges should be fresh enough to go again.
The Reds aren’t in action again until the Merseyside derby on Sunday, giving the side enough time to recuperate and prepare for the next block of fixtures. The manager has carefully rotated his options all throughout the season and we’ve seen the likes of Matip, Keita and Thiago benefit.
In goal tonight will be Alisson Becker. The Brazilian is in a race for the Golden Glove and is currently tied on 17 clean sheets with compatriot Ederson Moraes. A clean sheet here won’t only edge him ahead but set the Reds on their way to victory.
In defence, Alexander-Arnold and Robertson will line up in the full back positions. The pair benefited from rotation last week and will be looking to add to their combined tally of 33 assists this season. It is just insane the numbers they’re putting up.
At centre back, Matip is in line for a recall after being left out at Wembley. Konaté stepped in brilliantly for the 30 year old, scoring in his third consecutive match. Matip’s careful management has seen him make 25 Premier League appearances this season, just two shy of his best ever tally of 27, achieved in 2016/17.
The manager seems to have found a new combination in midfield that has the air of ‘first choice’ about it. Fabinho, Thiago and Keita were impressive individually and collectively as a unit, as they dominated City’s midfield on Saturday.
With the Champion League semi final against Villareal on the horizon, we could have stumbled upon a new first choice midfield trio ahead of that tie. Of the trio, only Naby Keita has started the last two games.
As such, he is likely to be given a breather as the skipper returns to the XI. Playing Keita three times in a week is something the manager has avoided this season, and with Henderson raring to go, he has an easy solution.
The skipper has made the most appearances for the club this season and continues to be a key cog. There are however certain games (like against City) where Naby’s skill set is more suitable. Tonight isn’t one of those games however.
Fabinho and Thiago should start again having been left out against Benfica last week. The manager made the point to highlight how a rested Fabinho performed much better against City. Thiago meanwhile was an absolute joy to watch at Wembley and will again be crucial here.
In attack, the manager will continue to juggle his options. Diaz gave the City defence palpitations with his runs down the left on Saturday whilst Mané put in a Man of the Match performance to put the Citizens to the sword. Salah continued his dry spell infront of goal but posed a threat throughout.
With Diaz starting each of the last two, he is likely to be rotated tonight. Jota has been in good form recently having scored or assisted in his last seven starts for club and country. He will probably come in for Diaz to line up on the left wing, leaving Sadio in his new found central striking role.
Firmino is another who could come in, having been limited to just a brief cameo on Saturday. With Mané in red hot form however, it is unlikely he is left out for the Brazilian. Salah is also unlikely to be left out.
He has 7 goals in his last 5 appearances against Manchester United, including a hat trick in the reverse fixture. If there was a game he’d want to end his drought in, it’s this one.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Salah, Mané, Jota.
Subs: Kelleher, Konaté, Gomez, Tsimikas, Milner, Keita, Jones, Diaz, Firmino.