This afternoon, Liverpool will host Burnley and Matthew Sinton is on hand to discuss team news and other important bits and bobs.
Coming off the back of a 3-1 victory over Arsenal, any other team in the league would be expecting to walk this game. Not us, though. Our record against the top sides is by far the best in the league, but it’s the teams in the bottom half of the table we struggle against; all of our five league defeats this season have come against sides that were in the relegation zone before the match. It was, in fact, Burnley that caused our first loss of the season, which was also just after a win over Arsenal (4-3 at The Emirates on the opening day.)
Roberto Firmino has missed training this week so is not expected to be available for Sunday’s game. With the injuries we already have this could seem like a disaster, but I think it’s far from it. The absence of both Firmino and Sturridge will force Klopp into playing Origi up front, which could be just the change we need for the type of game we usually struggle in.
Firmino’s relentless pressing is extremely useful to us in big games, but this isn’t really the case against the lower sides who tend to sit back. Of course, I hope he recovers as quickly as possible but there shouldn’t be too much to worry about. Divock is more than capable as we saw in November and December this season.
Our dreadful form (bar the odd game against the top sides) since the new year has well and truly put our title hopes to bed, so our main focus now is achieving a top four spot which would be crucial in bringing in certain players we need to compete in the future. Whether or not we meet that target will be decided on how we perform in the remaining 11 games, most of which are against bottom half teams; our only game against a top six team for the rest of the season is Manchester City away on the 19th of this month. If I’m honest, I’d rather play Arsenal or Spurs every week.
Roberto Firmino will not be the only absentee for Sunday’s game, with Dejan Lovren and Jordan Henderson still not ready to return to action. With that in mind, here’s how I think we’ll line up:
- GK: Simon Mignolet
- RB: Nathaniel Clyne
- CB: Joel Matip
- CB: Ragnar Klavan
- LB: James Milner
- CM: Emre Can
- CM: Georginio Wijnaldum
- CM: Adam Lallana
- LW: Philippe Coutinho
- RW: Sadio Mane
- ST: Divock Origi
I would actually quite like to see Alberto Moreno be given a start, although that seems unlikely. Coutinho does seem to benefit from having a bit more pace on his side, which could be particularly useful against a team like Burnley who are bound to sit back and make it difficult for us to break them down. Apart from that, I can’t see any changes to the above eleven. Let’s really get our season back on track!