The Premier League returns on Boxing Day following the World Cup break! Liverpool are in action tomorrow night when they travel to Villa Park to face Unai Emery’s side for a late afternoon kickoff (17:30 GMT). Here’s how the Reds could line up for the encounter.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

It’s a big enough gap between this fixture and the defeat at the Etihad stadium on Thursday night, handing Jürgen Klopp the opportunity to pick his strongest available XI. There will be no rotation required, with several members of the squad enjoying a three week break during the World Cup.

In goal will be Alisson Becker, with the Brazilian stopper expected back after being left out of the trip to Manchester City in midweek. ‘Ali’ was in inspired form before the break and will have to be at it again to deny a plucky Villa side.

Ahead of him in defence, there’s likely to be two changes to the backline that took on City; with Alexander-Arnold and Van Dijk slotting in for Milner and Gomez respectively. The former duo were left out of the League Cup tie as well and will be marking their return to action.

Matip and Robertson will complete a back five that is arguably the best the gaffer can call upon. Hopefully that is shown on the pitch with an improved defensive display. A clean sheet would be perfect here, with the side having kept none in their last four league fixtures.

In midfield, we should see Fabinho and Henderson return to the starting lineup after cameos off the bench at the Etihad. The duo will in all likelihood be joined by Thiago. The Spaniard was taken off after 70 minutes as his minutes are managed.

The likes of Elliott and Keita will offer more than decent options off the bench. Harvey has made the most appearances of any member of the squad this campaign. That just isn’t right. He’s been pressed into way more action than imagined owing to injuries. That should not be the case for the rest of the season.

Upfront, there is expected to be one alteration. Oxlade-Chamberlain was slated to start at the Etihad only for illness to restrict him to a cameo off the bench. Carvalho started in his stead and scored. However, the manager reiterated post match how ‘Ox’ was in great shape.

The 28 year old is therefore likely to take his place in attack alongside Darwin and Salah. That was the front three that completed the game at the Etihad and could possibly be the go-to attack in the absence of Firmino and long term absentees Jota and Diaz.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Salah, Darwin, Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Subs: Kelleher, Ramsay, Gomez, Phillips, Tsimikas, Keita, Elliott, Doak, Carvalho.


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