RANGERS VS LIVERPOOL: PREDICTED LINEUP
Liverpool head to Ibrox stadium tonight for a second showdown against Scottish side Rangers. For a match preview, you can head over here. Read on for the predicted XI and how we expect Jürgen Klopp to line his side up for the encounter.
The manager welcomed Andy Robertson back from injury but will be without the trio of Alexander-Arnold, Matip and Diaz after the trio sustained injuries in the defeat to Arsenal over the weekend.
This led the gaffer to question whether his side could continue utilising the 4-4-2 formation he’s introduced in the last two games after losing key components for the setup. This could see him revert back to the 4-3-3.
There will be two enforced changes in the back five. Alisson will start in goal, with Gomez and Konaté coming in for Alexander-Arnold and Matip respectively. This would mark Ibou’s first start in a competitive fixture for the Reds since the Champions League final defeat.
The 23 year old has been out since a knee injury in the final pre-season game of the summer. He’s playing catch up on his dream to make the French squad for the upcoming World Cup. This injury to Matip coinciding with his return to fitness could create the perfect storm for him.
Gomez meanwhile will be aiming to redeem himself after a woeful display on his last start. Am error-strewn outing in Naples saw him hooked at the break to spare him further embarrassment. At left back, Robertson will likely be handed a cameo off the bench.
There are bound to be a couple of changes in midfield. Thiago has started each of the last three and will be rested with Sunday’s visit of Manchester City in mind. Fabinho has not started any of the last two and can be expected to return to the XI tonight.
The skipper is another who has started each of the last three. He was below par at the Emirates and deserves to be dropped in all honesty. The catch is, James Milner is the only alternative. The 36 year old has himself struggled badly this campaign.
A decision will be made between the two English veterans, with Harvey Elliott completing the midfield. The teenager showed early promise this campaign but has seen his influence wane in recent weeks. A return to form here would be most welcome.
Upfront, there are five options to choose from; Darwin, Firmino, Salah, Jota and young Carvalho. Darwin Nunez has started consecutive games for the club for the very first time and seems to be integrating himself into the side with each passing game.
This run of games needs to continue against the Gers. Bobby is also due a start after dropping to the bench following his brace at home to Brighton. How the manager gets Darwin and Bobby to play together in a 4-3-3 remains to be seen.
Darwin played on the left wing on occasion for Benfica but Jürgen Klopp has been keen to use him as the spearhead of the attack. Bobby meanwhile lacks the pace to play out wide. Jota is versatile enough to play in any of the front three positions and could start again here.
Whether Mohamed Salah gets the nod is unclear. The Egyptian is woefully out of form, with another anonymous display seeing him hooked on Sunday. The manager remains loyal to his key men however and could back Mo to keep trying to play himself into form.
This could see one of Bobby or Darwin sacrificed. One wonders if we could see a 4-3-3 named on paper but a 4-4-2 shape play out in actuality; Jota and Harvey on the left and right wing respectively, with Salah playing off Darwin in the middle. That should get Mo closer to goal.
Alisson, Gomez, Konaté, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Henderson, Elliott, Jota, Darwin, Salah.
Subs: Kelleher, Adrian, Davies, Phillips, Robertson, Thiago, Milner, Bajcetic, Carvalho, Firmino.