CHELSEA VS LIVERPOOL: PREDICTED LINEUP
Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge tonight (7pm GMT kickoff) as they take on Chelsea. The Reds sit in 8th whilst the hosts lie a lowly 11th place in what has been a torrid campaign for both sides. Here’s how Jürgen Klopp could line his side up for the encounter.
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The manager in his pre-match press conference hinted at making a number of changes to his starting lineup tonight. This is obviously due to the short turnaround between this fixture and the defeat at Etihad on Saturday.
With Luis Diaz and Thiago Alcantara still unavailable, it looks like it’ll be pretty much the same set of players at the manager’s disposal. Let’s take a look at each department then, and see just how many alterations the gaffer can make:
Alisson will be in goal as always, with the Brazilian aiming to keep a clean sheet after his run of five consecutive shut-outs came to an end against Bournemouth. Ahead of him in defence, we could see at least one change.
Kostas Tsimikas came on for Robertson in the 70th minute last time out and could be handed a start here. Robertson had a full schedule for Scotland over the international break and wasn’t at his best against City.
Alexander-Arnold could also be taken out of the firing line, with Gomez available. It is unlikely however, as that would mean both fullbacks would have been dropped for such a huge fixture. Trent at least had the international break off so should be fresh enough to go again.
At centre back, Konaté and Van Dijk will likely be paired together once more. The Dutchman was way below his usual standards and has been for a while but you can’t see him being dropped, especially with Matip and Gomez not exactly instilling confidence.
It is very worrying just how far off it the likes of Trent, Van Dijk and Robertson look. How have three world class players all fallen off a cliff this campaign? They aren’t the only ones either. On to the midfield…
Fabinho, Henderson and Elliott started together last time out. The experienced duo are on the list of players who have fallen off the proverbial cliff this campaign. They will continue to feature though, seeing as the remaining options are, to put it bluntly, not good enough.
Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner came off the bench in the defeat to City. Beyond those two, the manager has Arthur Melo and Curtis Jones, or maybe even the lesser spotted Fabio Carvalho. There’s been talks in some sections that we could see the Juventus loanee handed his first start of the season tonight.
Will he fare any worse than the pitiful displays we’ve watched in midfield this season? Skipper Jordan Henderson no longer has the legs to go full throttle every three days so could be taken out. Elliott turns 20 today and has been entrusted enough to feature in every single game.
He could complete a new look trio alongside the two Brazilians. Tonight is a chance to strike a blow to a so called rival and rekindle hope and confidence. Whichever midfield trio the manager selects will go a long way in deciding the outcome of the match.
Upfront, we should see Darwin Nunez restored to the lineup. Jota will surely be the one to make way, with the Portuguese international still working his way back to full sharpness after an injury ravaged campaign. Roberto Firmino is an option to rotate Gakpo as well.
The Dutchman has been doing a solid impression of the 31 year old as he continues to settle and build an understanding with his teammates. It will perhaps be counterproductive to take him out of the side. Salah is of course the one constant in attack, making it a total of four changes to the side that lost at Etihad.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Elliott, Arthur, Salah, Gakpo, Darwin.
Subs: Kelleher, Matip, Gomez, Robertson, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Jota, Firmino.
Predicted Chelsea XI (3-4-3): Kepa, Fofana, Koulibaly, Cucurella; James, Fernandez, Kovacic, Chilwell, Mount, Havertz, Felix.