BRIGHTON VS LIVERPOOL: PREDICTED LINEUP
Liverpool travel to the Amex stadium again tomorrow, this time for an FA Cup fourth round tie. The Reds will be hoping for a better outing than the 3-0 defeat a fortnight ago. Here’s how Jürgen Klopp could line his side up for the encounter. For a match preview, you can head over here.
The manager confirmed in his pre-match press conference that there are no injury returns, with Diaz, Jota, Arthur, Van Dijk and Firmino still weeks away from returning to training. Fabio Carvalho and Nat Phillips are also likely to miss out with a knock and illness respectively.
This leaves the manager’s hands tied somewhat in attack, but he can still call on a strong enough side. In goal, Alisson Becker is expected to start again. It was a nice surprise to see Kelleher handed goalkeeping duties in the replay against Wolves but Alisson is likely to take up the gloves tomorrow.
He is the designated FA Cup ‘goalie’ and was probably just rested at Wolves. With a whole week between this fixture and the last, there’ll be no such rotation this time. Ahead of him in the backline, we could see a mostly unchanged back four.
The manager is looking to build from a solid base, therefore chopping and changing in defence won’t help. With that being said, we can expect to see Alexander-Arnold return at right back, whilst Konaté, Gomez and Robertson keep their places.
There’s a case to be made for Joel Matip but it will be harsh to drop either of Gomez or Konaté after back to back clean sheets. The Frenchman especially has been growing in stature by the week. If anything, it’s Gomez whose place could be up for grabs if he lets standards slip.
In midfield, Stefan Bajcetic holds the shirt at the minute for the ‘6’ role, whilst Thiago remains our best midfielder this campaign. The other spot is a toss up between Keita, Henderson and Milner, although youngsters Elliott and Jones could be in with a shout.
Naby has started the last two and was particularly instrumental at Wolves but could lose his place. Bar an exquisite outside of the boot pass to Salah on the stroke of halftime, the 27 year old struggled against Chelsea. His pass accuracy of just 63% told the story of a player failing to nail down his spot.
This could see the skipper handed his first start since the defeat at Brighton. He has admitted himself that he’s been struggling for energy, with the World Cup possibly taking a lot more out of him than he first thought. Having played just ten or so minutes over the past fortnight, he should be fresh enough to go again.
Upfront, it’s a simple case of starting the only fit lads; Salah on the right, Gakpo on the left, and Darwin Nunez through the middle. The Uruguayan could be key to unlocking the side’s attacking threat as he offers that bit of movement and intelligent running that was lacking at times against Chelsea.
His presence could help free up Mohamed Salah who has admittedly been below par of late but has seen his avenue to goal crowded out by a number of defenders. The threat of Darwin’s pace in behind could see the Egyptian afforded a bit more space as a result.
That makes it three changes to the XI that started against Chelsea last week. The FA Cup remains the most likely route to silverware for the Reds so it is imperative they give a better account of themselves than they managed last time out against De Zerbi’s side.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Gomez, Robertson, Bajcetic, Henderson, Thiago, Salah, Darwin, Gakpo.
Subs: Kelleher, Ramsay, Matip, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Keita, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Doak.