LIVERPOOL VS BRENTFORD: PREDICTED LINEUP
Liverpool take on Brentford later today, with the Reds keen to carry on their recent run of good form. Thomas Frank’s men will be no pushovers however, as they also chase down a European qualification spot. 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 confirmed Diogo Jota and Jordan Henderson were struggling with knocks. Thiago Alcantara has been confirmed to be out for the rest of the season whilst Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino remain unavailable.
With this representing the Reds’ fifth fixture in the space of two weeks, and kickoff today coming less than 68 hours since the final whistle against Fulham on Wednesday night, the manager will have to make a few changes to keep his side fresh.
The Bees have not played since last week and should be fresh and well drilled after a whole week in training ahead of this game. With that being said, a number of alterations to the Liverpool side that beat Fulham should be expected. Alisson Becker will definitely continue in goal.
The Brazilian kept his first clean sheet in seven last time out, moving on to 12 shut outs for the campaign. That only Ramsdale (13) and De Gea (15) have kept more clean sheets in the Premier League this season goes to show how brilliant he has been in a team that has underperformed this season.
In defence, we could see Konaté handed a breather. The Frenchman’s fitness issues mean it may be ill-advised to hand him three starts in the space of a week. Joel Matip came in for him at West Ham and acquitted himself really well, netting the winning goal in the process.
He could come in again here. Alongside him, Van Dijk will retain his place whilst Robertson should be restored to the lineup after being limited to less than half an hour on Wednesday night. Tsimikas will likely drop out after stepping in for the Scotsman against Fulham.
In midfield, Trent will once again line up next to Fabinho in the double pivot as he continues in his hybrid role. Fabinho has gotten through a lot of work in recent weeks and could be forgiven for looking leggy. With Bajcetic, Henderson and Thiago all out, he simply has to go again.
Ahead in the advanced midfield roles, Curtis Jones is set for an eighth consecutive start, easily his best run in the side since he broke through from the Academy a couple of years ago. He has been one of the bright spots in this winning run and will aim to continue his rich vein of form.
Harvey Elliott could also be in line for another start, with the skipper’s absence opening the door for the youngster. He started against Spurs last weekend but didn’t really grasp that opportunity with both hands. Tonight is another chance. That advanced role is made for him.
Upfront, Mohamed Salah is a shoo-in on the right wing. The irrepressible Egyptian is one away from equalling Steven Gerrard’s goal tally for the club. He is set to break a whole host of records if he can find the net once again.
Cody Gakpo meanwhile is in line for a return to the side after being handed a rest against Fulham. He will in all likelihood play up on the left wing, with Darwin Nunez starting up top. The Uruguayan has been in and out of the starting XI recently so should relish consecutive starts.
It would make sense for Luis Diaz to be held back. Despite the excitement he’s brought to the team since his return (and in his last two starts), it may be a step too far to expect a third start in a week for a player who is still making his way towards peak fitness.
All in all, it’s four changes to the side that started last time out. This should ensure there’s enough freshness about the Reds to deal with what Brentford will throw at them.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Elliott, Jones, Salah, Darwin, Gakpo.
Subs: Kelleher, Gomez, Konaté, Tsimikas, Milner, Arthur, Carvalho, Jota, Diaz.
Predicted Brentford XI (5-3-2): Raya, Roerslev, Zanka, Mee, Pinnock, Henry, Onyeka, Jensen, Janelt, Mbeumo, Toney.