Liverpool’s expected XI vs Man Utd as Klopp faces Alexander-Arnold dilemma
‘The 7-0 was a freak result!’ | Jurgen Klopp previews Liverpool’s clash with Man Utd
Liverpool host bitter rivals Manchester United today looking to end back-to-back weekends top of the Premier League table. The Reds are heavily fancied to beat United at Anfield after thrashing them 7-0 the last time they met in March but the visitors will be out to cause a huge shock. Express Sport looks at what line-up Jurgen Klopp could pick this afternoon…
Goalkeeper – Alisson
Caoimhin Kelleher played in Liverpool’s final Europa League game on Thursday – a 2-1 loss to Union Saint-Gilloise – but there is no chance of him starting in goal today. Alisson, who was not in the travelling squad for that match, will return between the sticks.
The Brazilian will be hopeful of keeping a fifth successive Anfield clean sheet against United. He has just four shut-outs from 14 Premier League matches so far this season, though all of them have come at Anfield and he is on a run of three successive clean sheets at L4.
Defence – Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas
Like Alisson, captain Virgil van Dijk put his feet up back home on Merseyside rather than fly to Belgium. He will start at centre-back with Ibrahima Konate alongside him in the absence of Joel Matip, who is potentially out for the rest of the season.
Kostas Tsimikas did not play any minutes in Europe so will be asked to help Diaz threaten Diogo Dalot or Aaron Wan-Bissaka down the left-hand side. It has been suggested due to injuries that Trent Alexander-Arnold might start as the deepest-lying midfielder here with Joe Gomez at right-back.
But the local-born defender, who has been highly influential in Liverpool’s strong recent run, should begin the match in his traditional hybrid role – starting at right-back and moving infield in possession. Klopp will then have the option to switch things up with Gomez among his reserves.
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Midfield – Endo, Gravenberch, Szoboszlai
As alluded to, Klopp has somewhat of a dilemma in midfield. That’s due to the absence of Alexis Mac Allister, his go-to holding midfielder this season. But Alexander-Arnold should start at right-back and so the German must then decide between Wataru Endo, Curtis Jones and Ryan Gravenberch in the No 6 position.
Given Endo came off at half-time in a seemingly pre-planned substitution in the Europa League, the Japanese ball-playing destroyer should get the nod. With Jones playing a full 90 in Belgium, Dominik Szoboszlai – fresh from a rest – and Gravenberch might be the two starting No 8s.
Klopp then has Jones and Elliott as game-changing subs off the bench. As well as Mac Allister, the Reds are also unfortunately still missing the classy duo of Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic due to injuries.
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Attack – Salah, Nunez, Diaz
Cody Gakpo scored twice when United last visited Anfield but played 90 minutes in Europe. That means the Dutchman, who was fairly anonymous versus USG, may have to settle for a place on the bench today. Luis Diaz should start out on the left.
Darwin Nunez also bagged a brace in the previous fixture. While he has seven goals and seven assists in 23 games this term, he has now failed to score in all of his last nine appearances (five starts) and will be desperate to end that drought here.
Fresh from ending his wait for 200 Liverpool goals, Salah – who too was spared the trip in midweek – will be hoping to continue tormenting United. He has scored more against the Red Devils than any other team in his career (12 goals in 12 games, four assists) and has managed seven goals contributions in the last two Anfield meetings alone.
Predicted Liverpool XI vs Man Utd (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Endo, Gravenberch, Szoboszlai; Salah, Nunez, Diaz
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