Liverpool are back in Champions League action straightaway, as they get a chance to put things right after the 4-1 drubbing at Napoli. Here’s how we expect Jürgen Klopp to line his side up to face Ajax.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

The injury bug hasn’t quite left Jürgen Klopp’s squad just yet. The latest player to be hit is left back Andy Robertson. The Scottish skipper has been ruled out till after the international break with a knee injury.

He joins Calvin Ramsay, Ibrahima Konaté, Jordan Henderson, Curtis Jones, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the sidelines. Fabio Carvalho has recovered from the dead leg he sustained in the derby and has trained with the squad.

The manager still has a number of decisions to make on his starting XI for what is sure to be a tough encounter against the Dutch champions. In goal will be Alisson Becker. The Brazilian was left exposed time and again in Naples.

He faced a whopping nine shots on target (including two penalties) as his defence crumbled before his very eyes. He will need much better protection against Ajax as he goes in search of what would be a third clean sheet of the season in all competitions.

In defence, we can expect two changes. Joe Gomez was all over the place at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium (and that’s putting it mildly). He will drop to the bench for the returning Joel Matip. Matip of course came on for him at halftime in that encounter.

With Robertson out injured, Kostas Tsimikas will get his chance to shine. He was handed a start in the Merseyside derby but was taken off before the hour mark. He needs to find the consistency he managed last season.

Kostas Tsimikas has created the most chances per game (3.4) of any Liverpool player in the Premier League this season.

The midfield conundrum is one the manager will hope to solve once and for all. Thiago’s return to fitness helps in that regard, with the Spanish controller expected to go straight back into the side.

Fabinho has been off it for a while, but with no alternative in reserve will start again. There’s at least hope in the fact that the Brazilian enjoys a special connection with Thiago and they have a pretty impressive record when starting together.

The third slot in midfield (if the manager still persists with a 4-3-3) will go to any one of Elliott, Arthur, Milner or Carvalho. A switch to 4-2-3-1 could be the way forward though, especially after the manager spoke of a need to reinvent his side.

If he sticks with 3 in the middle of the park, he’d probably opt for Harvey Elliott. The teenager has had his promising start to the season hugely affected by the collective dip in form. This has seen too much responsibility placed on his young shoulders to carry the team from midfield.

The return of Thiago should at least see some of that pressure lifted. Arthur Melo will need a bit of time to get up to speed after so long without game time with Juventus. He will likely be limited to another cameo here as he builds up rhythm and fitness.

Upfront, the manager has all five attacking options fit and available. Diaz is currently the best performing attacker and indeed the side’s topscorer so far this season. He’s a shoo-in to start on the left wing.

Mohamed Salah is out of goalscoring form but you’d expect him to start as well, especially with a week between fixtures. That leaves Jota, Firmino and Darwin Nunez vying for the central striking role.

Jota has gotten two cameos under his belt as he seeks to make up for a lack of pre-season due to a hamstring injury. Firmino has seen a lot of minutes this season, enjoying some good moments and bad.

Darwin meanwhile has had a stop start time of things so far after his initial momentum was checked by the daft sending off against Palace. The side needs to get used to their new target man at some point, and that adaptation won’t happen if he doesn’t play.

It’s about time the manager started making full use of his record signing. There’s also the option of playing Firmino or Carvalho behind him in a 4-2-3-1 from the start, or later in the encounter if the Reds have to chase the game.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Elliott, Thiago, Salah, Darwin, Diaz.

Subs: Adrian, Davies, Mabaya, Phillips, Gomez, Bajcetic, Milner, Arthur, Carvalho, Firmino, Jota.



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