The Champions League returns to Anfield today as Liverpool host Atletico Madrid. A win will see the Reds qualify for the knockout stages, but it will be no easy task as Atletico showed in Madrid a fortnight ago. With that in mind, we don’t expect many changes, even with a trip to West Ham to come on Sunday. We take a look at how Jürgen Klopp could line up his team against the Spanish champions.
Alisson Becker should be in goal, with the Brazilian still searching for his first clean sheet in the Champions League this season. Ahead of him, we predict one change in the back four, with Joel Matip returning alongside Virgil Van Dijk. Konaté will make do with a place on the bench, alongside Nat Phillips.
Fellow center-back, Joe Gomez, was not in training today and could be a doubt for the fixture. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson will likely continue at full-back, with Neco Williams and Kostas Tsimikas taking up their place on the substitutes bench.
There could be a case made for a change at left-back, with Tsimikas coming in for Robbo. The Scotsman wasn’t at his best on Saturday, and with that trip to West Ham on the horizon, could be given a breather. It certainly wouldn’t pose too much of a concern should that be the case, as the Greek is quietly enjoying himself a solid season. We have yet to concede a goal with him on the pitch after all.
Another argument could be made for resting Van Dijk, again with that West Ham game in mind. He has already made 12 appearances for the club this season and they will be mindful not to overload him after the long layoff he endured, owing to the ACL injury he suffered at the hands of Jordan Pickford. He has been left out of both Carabao Cup games this season, as well as the UCL clash with Milan.
In midfield, the return of Fabinho and Thiago is a real boost, especially after Naby Keita succumbed to a hamstring injury. With Klopp always being sensible about not rushing players returning from injury, we expect both to start on the bench. That leaves the three fit senior midfielders to start; Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Curtis Jones. As a trio, they didn’t do themselves justice against Brighton and will get a chance to iron out any kinks.
Upfront, Firmino struggled at the weekend and could have been subbed earlier than he eventually was. We see Diogo Jota coming into the XI for the Brazilian. Salah and Mané are top three in the club’s history for goals in this competition, alongside Steven Gerrard, and will look to add to their tallies here from the start.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Salah, Jota, Mané.
Subs: Kelleher, Williams, Konaté, Phillips, Tsimikas, Morton, Dixon-Bonner, Fabinho, Thiago, Firmino, Origi, Minamino.