WOLVES VS LIVERPOOL: PREDICTED LINEUP
Liverpool travel to the Molineux stadium tomorrow night (19:45 GMT kickoff), as they take on Wolverhampton Wanderers in a third round FA Cup replay. Here’s how the Reds could line up for the encounter. For a match preview, you can head over here.
Jürgen Klopp confirmed he will make changes to his side when he sat down with reporters for his pre-match press conference. In terms of team news, James Milner and Stefan Bajcetic have trained fully whilst Darwin Nunez is said to be “close”.
It will be a tricky act trying to balance making those changes and ensuring it’s still a strong enough team to compete. Spots are up for grabs in what is an underperforming team, so hopefully those who step in make their case with strong displays.
In goal, Alisson Becker is expected to start again. This is despite talented number two Caomhin Kelleher making just two appearances this campaign. It is a curious bit of man management by Klopp in a season full of them unfortunately.
In defence, we could see at least two changes, with Konaté and Robertson both making way. Calvin Ramsay has been rarely spotted since joining in the summer. He was last seen playing for the U21s where he got himself sent off in the first half.
It doesn’t look like he is ready to step in, and as such the manager could opt to retain Alexander-Arnold. Joe Gomez, who was shambolic off the bench against Brighton, will likely get a start here alongside Joel Matip. Tsimikas would then slot in for Robbo on the left.
It is in midfield that fresh legs are needed the most. The returning duo of Bajcetic and Milner could both be handed starts in the engine room, with Naby Keita completing the trio. Keita has yet to start a single game this campaign, and that’s despite being fully fit since the resumption of club football.
The Reds have been outworked and outplayed in midfield way too many times this season, with Wolves enjoying so much space through the middle at Anfield. It will be up to this trio to stake a claim for more minutes by putting up more of a fight than the first choice trio have mustered.
It is tough to call what the manager will do with his frontline. He has only two senior attackers fit and could be looking to hand Mohamed Salah a breather. The Egyptian hasn’t looked himself in recent weeks and has performed rather poorly truth be told.
With Darwin Nunez unlikely to be fit enough to start, we could see January signing Cody Gakpo handed another go here. The Dutchman had the thankless task of leading the line at Brighton and recorded the least touches of any player to play the full game (25).
He will be hoping for more of an involvement here to show what he’s all about. It’s been tremendously difficult for him to shine in a team as dysfunctional as this. He will have to start through the middle once again. Alongside him, we could see Fabio Carvalho get his first minutes since being hooked off at halftime at the Etihad.
The 20 year old has been constantly overlooked, with all of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Elliott and even young Ben Doak played out of position on the left wing when he’s been available. It’s still not clear what he did wrong in his last appearance where he netted against City.
The manager was asked why the promising talent has seen so few minutes since the defeat in the EFL Cup and claimed it was all down to “sports reasons”. It is another bit of the curious man management I spoke about earlier.
Hopefully Carvalho is finally handed a start here, it will then be up to him to channel that frustration he must surely be feeling into an impressive output on the pitch. On the right wing, the manager has the option of the raw and exciting talent that is Ben Doak.
The 18 year old was handed the final 25 or so minutes against Brighton. He’s caught the eye everytime he’s played but couldn’t really get into the game at the Amex. It might not be the worst idea in the world to not give him too much too soon.
More cameos off the bench against tired legs could be no bad thing. Harvey Elliott could start on the right wing instead. He’s another who has struggled in midfield lately so why not push him further forward into his more natural position?
He will be free to focus on the attacking side of his game without worrying too much about tracking runners in midfield. He’s capable of slicing defences open when he gets his head up to pick a pass. He enjoys good understanding with Carvalho and could combine well with Gakpo.
That makes it a total of seven alterations to the side that got swept aside by Brighton. The players must first of all be up for the fight tomorrow night. Show a bit of passion and heart to match Wolves and then hope for the quality to shine through in the end.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Tsimikas, Bajcetic, Keita, Milner, Elliott, Gakpo, Carvalho.
Subs: Kelleher, Ramsay, Konaté, Phillips, Thiago, Henderson, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Doak.
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