By Adam Brown (@AdamMNVi)
The end of the international break. A sigh of relief.
Klopp has been forced to shuffle the pack on multiple occasions this year, and with Joe Gomez likely out for the rest of the season, options at centre-back are now stretched further as Liverpool prepare to take on Leicester City.
Fortunately, injuries to Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson aren’t as bad as originally feared and both players could feature on Sunday if needed. Mohamed Salah is recovering from Covid 19 so will be unavailable for the time being.
The Reds will have to adapt. Wijnaldum is in form after scoring three goals in as many games for the Netherlands. The man who some thought would need to move on to make space for Thiago will now be a prominent feature in the midfield alongside the Spanish maestro as Fabinho moves to the heart of defence.
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Here’s how we should line up:
Liverpool should opt for caution in the backline as player fitness is assessed after returning from international duty. Kostas Tsimikas has improved match sharpness after playing for Greece in the Nations League and should start on Sunday – it feels too risky to go with Andy Robertson after the Scotland captain’s recent schedule.
Jamie Vardy’s runs in behind the defence could prove too much of a risk for a returning Fabinho. Joel Matip and Nat Phillips should start with James Milner at right-back.
Brendan Rodgers isn’t known for parking the bus which should see Klopp deploy a 4-3-3 formation. If Thiago is fit, the Spaniard has to start from the six. Wijnaldum and Keita complete a midfield capable of controlling any game.
Diogo Jota comes in for Salah with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
For all the hard-luck over the last month, Liverpool are still capable of fielding a title-challenging XI. While the likes of Fabinho, Henderson and Robertson could all be involved, I’d like to see them on the bench to avoid any more dents to the squad.
I’m expecting a close game with Klopp fielding a side which has never played together before, but the Reds should have too much quality on display for Leicester to cause an upset.
Score prediction: Liverpool 2 – 1 Leicester City
How does Chris think Liverpool will line up? Check out the Starting XI Prediction Show below!