Dave Davis explains the big decisions that Jurgen Klopp needs to make for the Merseyside derby on Monday.
Big decisions beckon for Jurgen Klopp in Monday night’s Merseyside Derby. Having struggled in recent weeks against Bournemouth and West Ham, it was great to get back to winning ways with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough. The performances of certain players and potential return from injury of others means Klopp has some big decisions to make.
Mignolet over Karius
The decision has already been made and there were mixed reactions to Klopp demonstrating his ruthless side this week. Aside from the Nevilles, Carragher and other assorted Twitter comments, Karius had been making mistakes consistently and it was understandable that he was taken out of the firing line.
For all those reluctant to see Mignolet re-introduced to the starting line-up, it showed that the manager isn’t afraid to make tough calls and everyone needs to perform to earn a place. It couldn’t be one rule for one and another for Daniel Sturridge. Mignolet has previously had one of his best games for Liverpool in the derby and fans will need to get behind him.
Matip back in, Klavan or Lovren out?
Although Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan were able to ensure we kept a clean sheet against Middlesbrough, If Matip is fit then he’ll start. The Cameroonian centre-half has been outstanding for Liverpool this season and his colleagues seem uncertain without him there. If we are to shackle Romelu Lukaku and others then the 24-year-old’s presence will be crucial.
One of Lovren or Klavan could count themselves unlucky if they do drop out, but Klavan seems the most likely. A Lovren-Matip axis is Klopp’s first-choice option, although that does seem harsh on Klavan. The Estonian has been excellent in recent games and provided and demonstrated he’s better on the ball than most thought he was. Despite the clean sheet and barring a Matip fitness issue, though, he’ll most likely drop out.
Can or Wijnaldum
The old debate that rages on when every player in the squad is fit. We looked good on Wednesday with the Wijnaldum-Henderson-Lallana midfield and to be fair to Wijnaldum, he had a good game. The Dutchman has assumed a different role to what many thought he would at Anfield and that’s played a part in a lack of goals. His energy, pace and all-action style has proved popular with many, though.
There will be a clamour for Can to go straight back in, provided he is passed fit due to what many perceive as his better defensive abilities and liking for tackle. Away from home and in such a fixture, the inclusion of the 22-year-old German would make logical sense to provide us with extra solidity however, we can’t afford to carry passengers in this one and this could go either way.
Origi or Firmino in the central role
It seems crazy that when a striker comes in and scores five goals in succession that he’s not an automatic shoe-in for the number 9 role. Many Reds supporters would like to see Origi shifted out to the left, to allow Firmino to be accommodated through the centre. The 21-year-old Belgian is now our joint top scorer and looks a different player with a few goals under his belt and his confidence sky high.
Origi’s goal return has coincided with Firmino’s lack of impact in recent games. The Brazilian attacker has been shifted from his normal central role and put simply isn’t the same player starting from the left. The goals and assists appear to have dried up and against Middlesbrough, Origi did spend part of the game on the left side. It’ll be interesting to see how they start and if interchanging is instructed come Monday.