Damon Savenelli takes a look at how Liverpool will lineup today.
Ah, it seems as though the injury bug has once again struck the Liverpool camp. It feels like it has been a few months since we have last had a fully fit squad. With the likes of Dejan Lovren and Coutinho recently coming back from injury, it is confirmed that Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson have taken their places on the medic’s table.
With the Merseyside derby quickly approaching on Saturday, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana will be watching from the stands. News broke this week that Adam Lallana will be out for up to four weeks after sustaining a thigh injury while on international duty (no surprise there). I mean really, when was the last time all of our players returned from international duty fully fit?
On the other hand, Jordan Henderson has been ruled out as he continues to fight a foot injury. With two key midfielders missing in the engine room for the Reds that got me as well as many other Liverpool fans thinking: What will the starting 11 look like on Saturday?
With squad depth obviously being an issue this year, it is bad news for Klopp whenever he loses a key starter to injury. Nonetheless, he must adapt. If Klopp plans on sticking to a 4-3-3, here are some options:
- Front three of Firmino, Mane, and Coutinho remains while James Milner, Emre Can, and Wijnaldum hold down the midfield. Alberto Moreno comes in to replace Milner at LB.
- Coutinho joins Wijnaldum and Can in the midfield, which means Milner stays at LB. Ben Woodburn, Daniel Sturridge, or Divock Origi replaces Coutinho in the front 3.
- One of either Lucas Leiva, Kevin Stewart, or Marko Grujic replaces Adam Lallana in the midfield while Emre Can and Wijnaldum hold their places.
Here are some options if Klopp opts to change formations (which I find unlikely).
- Play a 4-3-2-1 with Origi or Sturridge up top. Firmino sits behind Origi while Emre Can and Wijnaldum control the middle of the park. Mane and Coutinho keep their places on the wings.
- Play a 3-4-3 with Lovren, Matip, and Klavan in the rear. Moreno and Clyne move up and take on a wing back role. I am using Moreno because he suits the role of a wingback much more than James Milner. Emre Can and Wijnaldum are in the midfield while the front three of Coutinho, Firmino, and Mane remains.
Again, I do not see Klopp changing formations as he seems to be very stubborn when it comes to formation changes. In my opinion, formation changes are underrated. A formation change could be what enables a team to snap a bad run of form or break out of a slump. As we saw with Chelsea at the beginning of the season. The London side were not looking so hot but all Antonio Conte had to do was implement a 3-4-3 and wa-la, good as new.
Realistically, I can see Coutinho moving to the midfield while either Origi, Firmino, or Sturridge starts up front with either Firmino or Origi on the wing.
No matter what this is a huge match. Everton are currently in good form while Lukaku seems to be scoring goals for fun. If the Reds wish to push for the ever so important top four, this is another must win. I am sure Klopp will figure out his team and have his men firing on all cylinders. Either way, this derby looks to be a delightful one. I just hope it is a fraction as exciting as it was last time.