LIVERPOOL VS RANGERS: PREDICTED LINEUP
The two runners-up of last season’s Champions League and Europa League go head to head at Anfield tonight as Liverpool host Rangers. Here’s how we expect Jürgen Klopp to line his side up for the encounter.
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It’s a similar squad available as at the weekend against Brighton. Konaté and Ramsay are closer to a return after taking part in team training yesterday. With the tight turnaround from Saturday and a trip to Arsenal on Sunday, there could be a change or two.
In goal as usual will be Alisson Becker. The Brazilian has been in superb form recently but you wouldn’t know it when you look at the clean sheet count. It’s just two shut outs in nine for the 30 year old, with the defensive vulnerabilities of the side clear for all to see.
In defence, the manager has a decision to make on Alexander-Arnold. The young Scouser was all over the place against Brighton, no doubt with the England omission and increased scrutiny playing on his mind.
Summer signing Calvin Ramsay was brought to provide cover and competition for Trent but has been out with injury since pre-season. Had he been fully fit, this would have been a wonderful opportunity to throw him in against Scottish opposition.
That would have afforded Trent the chance to be taken out of the firing line. As it stands though, Ramsay is just returning from a three month layoff, so either Trent plays himself back into a bit of form or Gomez gets a stint at right back
At centre half, the manager would have loved to rest Van Dijk but that’s a luxury he can’t afford right now. The big man hasn’t been his usual self this season, and like Trent, will have to find a way back to a semblance of form by playing.
Matip and Tsimikas will make up an unchanged backline from the draw against Brighton. It’s the same backline that started against Ajax as well, and they’ll be hoping for a similar level of performance as they showed against the Dutch side, with a clean sheet to boot.
There could be a change in shape as the manager mulls over whether to switch to a 4-2-3-1 setup. A home clash against Rangers is perhaps the ideal time to switch formation. With all due respect to Van Bronchorst’s side, they don’t pose the same threat as the sides we have coming up.
The manager has options that’ll suit the new setup, with the likes of Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago and Arthur all capable of playing in a double pivot, whilst Elliott, Carvalho and Firmino all offer genuine options in the number ten role.
With Fabinho off form, Henderson featuring for an hour on Saturday following his return from a hamstring injury, and Arthur buried deep in Klopp’s new signing purgatory, the makeup of the double pivot is hard to call.
Thiago is possibly the only one guaranteed a start. He didn’t hit the heights on Saturday but can generally be relied upon. He formed part of a successful double pivot at Bayern Munich alongside Leon Goretzka, excelling in the role on their way to Champions League triumph.
In attack, Bobby is in good nick this season and is actually the side’s topscorer so far. He will likely get the nod in the number ten role, a position he played before his conversion to a false nine under Jürgen Klopp.
Ahead of him will likely be the trio of Salah, Jota and Diaz, with Darwin Nunez once again biding his time on the bench. Should the manager choose to go with the same old 4-3-3, one of the four forwards (probably Bobby) will be dropped for a midfielder (likely Elliott).
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Henderson, Thiago, Elliott, Salah, Jota, Diaz.
Subs: Adrian, Davies, Gomez, Phillips, Konaté, Fabinho, Bajcetic, Milner, Arthur, Carvalho, Darwin, Firmino.