Liverpool takes on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in a mammoth clash at Anfield on Sunday with just one point separating the two sides. It is another heavyweight bout against a title contender after the Reds drew with Chelsea a few weeks ago. It is just the seventh game of the season but you can be sure it will have a six-pointer feel about it.
Liverpool are coming off an emphatic 5-1 win in Portugal and are in good nick. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago, and Harvey Elliott remain out with injury, with the squad that took on Porto being the exact same expected to get a victory against the reigning champions tomorrow. We take a look at how we think Jurgen Klopp might line up.
In goal will be Alisson Becker, with the Brazilian hoping to banish memories of last season’s error-prone performance against the Sky Blues. Right-back is the first slight selection headache the boss will face. James Milner, Joe Gomez, or Neco Williams? We feel it won’t be Neco as he’s not played a single minute this season and only returned from injury last week.
Gomez will offer pace and defensive steel in the position but will completely kill our attacking thrust going forward. We feel it will be the veteran James Milner again, seeing as he pocketed Wilfried Zaha two weeks ago and was subbed off early against Porto after another solid performance topped off with an assist. Whether he can repeat it against City will be seen.
He will likely be up against £100million man Jack Grealish, although Pep could seek to capitalise on Millie’s lack of pace by utilising Raheem Sterling down that left-wing. In the centre of defence, Joel Matip and Virgil Van Dijk remain the first choice pairing, with Andy Robertson also keeping his spot at left-back.
Midfield offers another minor quandary for the manager. Does he go 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3? Does he go Naby Keita or Curtis Jones? Hard to say really, but we’ll have a go. We expect a 4-3-3 with Curtis Jones joining Fabinho and Jordan Henderson in midfield. How do you not pick Jones after THAT performance in midweek? Plus he did actually start in this game last season.
He played well too and was subbed in the second half with the score level at 1-1. His substitution coincided with the late capitulation as we conceded three unanswered goals in the last 25 minutes. Curtis is in brilliant form at the minute and that must be capitalised upon. He has the ability to go past people and shoot from distance. That could be key.
If we are going for 4-3-3, then one of the forwards must miss out. The phenom that is Mohamed Salah is a nailed-on starter, he’s in unstoppable form right now and will be the main threat. It could be argued that any two of the remaining three can start. It could be Mané & Jota, or Mané & Firmino or even Jota & Firmino. We reckon it will be Sadio and Bobby though as Jota just misses out.
The Portuguese has been snatching at a couple of changes lately and you wonder if a cameo off the bench wouldn’t be better for him. Bobby’s brace in midweek, coupled with the fact the manager absolutely loves the Brazilian for big games and actually picked him over Jota against Chelsea, tells us he’ll start. The original front three if you will, reunited.
Another thing to note is Bobby almost always looks to play in Mo, and with the form the Egyptian is in, Klopp would be forgiven for simply using an “all balls to Mo” approach. With Trent missing and Milner likely to be preoccupied with his positioning due to a lack of recovery pace, Bobby could actually help get Salah in the game more.
Alisson, Milner, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Jones, Salah, Firmino, Mané.
Subs: Kelleher, Gomez, Konate, Tsimikas, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Jota, Origi.