FULHAM VS LIVERPOOL: PREDICTED LINEUP
Liverpool kickstart their 2022/23 Premier League season with a trip to Craven Cottage to take on newly promoted Fulham. Marco Silva’s side pose the first test of what we hope will be a title winning campaign. Here’s the predicted lineup.
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There are a number of notable injury enforced absences for Jürgen Klopp’s side, with up to seven players expected to miss out. Kelleher, Ramsay, Konaté, Tsimikas, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jota have all been ruled out.
The manager can still call on a strong side with the depth of his squad being tested already despite the season not starting in earnest yet. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come.
In goal tomorrow will be the retuning Alisson. The Brazilian has been out with an abdominal muscle injury since conceding three first half goals to Manchester United in the very first pre-season friendly of the summer.
Adrian stood in credibly for the two time Premier League Golden Glove winner in the Community Shield, but it is a relief to have Ali back fit. He has missed most of pre-season so may show signs of rust.
It’s a pretty straightforward selection in defence. Trent will start at right back with Robbo on the left whilst Matip continues his rock solid partnership with Van Dijk in the heart of defence. Joe Gomez will make do with a place on the bench.
It is a pretty settled backline, with all four playing together for the best part of four and a half years now. This is a huge advantage as it allows for changes to be made further up the pitch without much of a disruption across the team.
In midfield, Fabinho and Thiago are shoo-ins. The third slot is a toss up between the skipper and young Harvey. With Naby only returning to training today, it’s unlikely he will be given the nod to start.
The skipper was fantastic against Manchester City as his energy and intensity helped the side dominate the midfield battle. No mean feat considering the strength of City’s engine room.
Harvey came on for the skipper in that game and could do so again here. It’s opening day, the skipper simply has to lead the side out. Especially away from home in what could be a hostile atmosphere for the ex Fulham youngster.
Upfront, the manager has a decision to make once again between Bobby Firmino and Darwin Nunez. He went with the former in the Community Shield, with the latter coming off the bench to decide the game.
It worked out perfectly. Against an elite side like City where even the slightest misjudgements can be punished, it made sense to go with the familiarity of Bobby. Does the same apply for a trip to Fulham though?
Will a spearhead in attack cause more problems for the Fulham defence? Darwin showed in his half cameo against City just what a threat he is. He provided an option in behind whilst also serving as a target in the middle for crosses.
There’s the option of starting both players in a 4-2-3-1 but that’s unlikely for an away trip against a Fulham side who won’t exactly sit back and rely solely on counter attacks. Whichever way the manager goes, it’ll be a strong Liverpool attack with Diaz and Mo either side.
Bobby is fantastic at what he does, but I just feel what he’s great at (dropping deep to link up play) won’t be as necessary here as we’ll see a lion share of possession and thus create a number of chances. A lethal poacher may serve us better on the day.
The five subs rule means we could see half the outfielders get a breather in what is still serving as an extended pre-season. Stefan Bajcetic could find himself involved in the matchday squad for the first time as well after impressing over the summer.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Salah, Darwin, Diaz.
Subs: Adrian, Gomez, Phillips, Bajcetic, Milner, Keita, Elliott, Firmino, Carvalho.
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