Liverpool travels to Yorkshire to take on Leeds United in the Premier League on Sunday. The Reds will look to build on their solid start of the season when they come up against Marcelo Bielsa’s men, with kickoff slated for 16:30 BST (15:30 GMT). It promises to be a cracking encounter and we look ahead to the possible team Jurgen Klopp will line up with.
Roberto Firmino and Takumi Minamino are the only absentees through injury, with veteran James Milner back in contention after resuming training earlier this week. With the Champions League set to begin soon with Milan visiting Anfield on Wednesday, Klopp could well have that in mind when he names his starting XI tomorrow.
There will be seven fixtures in the next twenty-three days before another international break, it is certain that rotation will be key during this period. In goal, Alisson Becker will line up after the ban on the Brazilians was finally lifted by FIFA last night. Ahead of him will be Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joel Matip. On the left of defence though is where a few questions arise.
The manager mentioned a fortnight ago, that it would be unwise to play Virgil three times a week after so long out. Having played for the Netherlands on Tuesday night, a start here and another against Milan would mean three games in eight days for the big man. A risk we are not sure Jurgen will take. We feel he’ll pick Virgil for either Leeds or Milan and not both.
It comes down to which game he feels he’ll need him more in. Away at a raucous Elland Road against Bamford, Raphinha, James and Rodrigo, or another famous European night at Anfield against Giroud, Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao, and even possibly Ibrahimovic? It will also come down to which game would be more suitable for Konate or Gomez to make their first start of the season in.
Throw in the fact that Joel Matip is also unable to play three games a week without breaking down and the permutations get even more complicated. It is great to have the options of Gomez and Konate though, not to mention Nat Phillips. With that being said, we expect Jurgen to go with Van Dijk. Especially with the way results have gone this weekend with rivals winning.
He would want his best team out on the pitch to increase the likelihood of three points, before dealing with whatever comes next. Similar conversations will be had about Robertson after he started all three games for Scotland during the break, this after recovering from ankle ligament damage in record time. He did struggle last time out against Chelsea on his return.
Kostas Tsimikas started the season well and kept ticking over with two starts for Greece over the break. We predict the Greek to be given the nod as Robbo puts his feet up in anticipation of Milan. In midfield, Fabinho is a shoo-in after the ban was lifted. You’d expect Thiago to also start having spent two weeks at the AXA Training ground with Klopp.
The third slot is a toss-up between five players, with Henderson, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Elliott, and Curtis Jones all making a case for a start. Elliott seems to be Klopp’s pick when facing packed defences but Leeds under Bielsa are anything but a deep defending team. Naby Keita has been through a lot emotionally over the past week so might be given a rest with Milan in mind.
Milner just returned from injury, whilst this might be too hectic a game to offer Jones his first minutes of the season. It leaves the skipper, who started just the one game for England over the break. Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago is seen by many as Klopp’s strongest midfield and it is a wonder they’ve only ever started together once. We predict Klopp to take this opportunity to give them another go.
In attack, there’s not much room for rotation with Bobby and Taki both out. Origi hasn’t made the matchday squad this season and it is difficult to see Ox or Elliott starting in attack in a game like this. Salah, Jota, Mané are becoming the new default front three, mainly due to Jota’s incredible goalscoring form. The trio will start and look to cause damage again tomorrow.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Salah, Jota, Mané.
Subs: Kelleher, Gomez, Konate, Robertson, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Keita, Elliott, Origi.