Liverpool’s Audi Cup clash with Bayern Munich is right around the corner and Jack Hallows has a specific line up he’d like to see given a run out.
The Audi Cup almost feels like proper football is back honestly.
European opponents like Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Napoli have been absent from Liverpool’s footballing schedule for far too long and I for one, am absolutely buzzing to see how we get on. Even if it is only pre-season!
It’s likely that with Liverpool’s squad still not quite up to 100% fitness that there’ll be a fair degree of rotation throughout the two games they’ll play in Bavaria, especially given they’re being played on consecutive days but personally, I’m really hoping to see the following lineup be given at least 45 minutes on the field together.
Formation – The bog standard 4-3-3
Goalkeeper – Loris Karius
Hang on a minute Jack, what the hell are you on about?
I know, I know but give me a chance.
When he arrived last summer, the German was widely tipped to usurp Simon Mignolet in the first-choice goalkeeping role and personally, I’d still like to see if he’s got the ability to do it.
He struggled at times last season with what looked to be a simple lack of confidence in a new league and I’d like to see him given the chance against top quality opposition to prove that he’s got what it takes.
We all know exactly what Mignolet does and doesn’t offer in goal by now, so for me, Karius should be given a chance to prove he’s got the ability and mentality to cope on the big stage.
Right back – Trent Alexander-Arnold
Clyne’s injured, so is Gomez and Jon Flanagan just isn’t a Liverpool player for me – no offence Flanno, I just don’t think you’re as good as a lot of other people do.
Alexander-Arnold may only be 18 but he’s honestly a fantastic talent.
He’s probably going to be beginning the season as Liverpool’s starting right-back at Watford and pre-season is the perfect time to really throw him in the deep end and expose him to the big stage without potentially traumatising him if he makes a mistake.
He’ll be tested heavily against an attack that’s likely to include wingers such as Franck Ribery, Kingsley Coman and Arjen Robben but I’m very excited to see how he copes.
Centre back pairing – Joel Matip & Dejan Lovren
I was going to go with Matip and Gomez but Gomez went and got himself injured again so this will have to do.
Unless the Reds manage to get a move on with signing Virgil van Dijk in the next week or so – which looks unlikely in my honest opinion – this is probably going to be the starting central defensive pairing come Liverpool’s opening day trip to Watford. Therefore, they should be playing as much football together as they can.
Matip is not a problem if he can keep himself fit but Lovren, as we know, can be an issue when he decides to have a sudden-onset of brain malfunction. For this reason, he needs to be exposed to high-pressure situations as regularly as possible and a high pressing, attacking team like Bayern Munich is the perfect opportunity.
Left back – Andrew Robertson
Some will call for Milner, none will call for Moreno and I’m going for Robertson.
The former Hull City man impressed me against Hertha Berlin in the second half both offensively and defensively and I’d love to be given another look at him.
A left-back who can defend and possesses a solid left foot seems to be a bit of a luxury for Liverpool of late and if Robertson continues to prove that he can provide both of those things, then he’ll have no problems getting plenty of game time on Merseyside.
Holding midfielder – Jordan Henderson
According to Liverpool Twitter, you’re either in favour of Henderson or Can.
That being said, Can has only just returned to pre-season and his fitness levels may find an intense game against Bayern Munich tough going, while Henderson has been back in training for almost a month now and has looked impressive every time he’s taken to the pitch.
He’s our captain and whether you love him or hate him, I personally rate him as being one of our best midfielders when fit and currently, he’s fit. So, he’s going in my starting XI.
Central midfield – Philippe Coutinho and Gini Wijnaldum
I know a lot of people might be raising eyebrows at the lack of Adam Lallana but against a midfield that is one of the best and most physically well equipped in Europe you simply cannot have both Lallana and Coutinho in the same midfield trio.
You’re not gonna leave Phil out, are you?
Wijnaldum’s ability to help out defensively, bomb up and down the field box to box combined with his extra height and physicality will likely be vital in freeing up Coutinho to do what he does best and the dynamic of the midfield trio looks far more balanced with the Dutchman in the side.
Right wing – Mohamed Salah
Do I even need to explain this one? He’s rapid, deadly and I absolutely love watching him play.
Left Wing – Sadio Mané
Again, do I even need to explain?
I am that desperate to see an attack featuring all three of Coutinho, Salah and Mané you have no idea. The ability of Coutinho to pick a pass to a teammate seemingly anywhere on the field and play beautifully weighted through balls, combined with the pace and finishing ability of both of the Reds’ speedy wingers promises to be a joy to behold.
Just do it, Kloppo.
Striker – Roberto Firmino OR Daniel Sturridge
I’m torn here honestly.
Firmino is definitely our first choice no.9 and I’d like to see Klopp field as close to the line up that will take the field against Watford on August 12th as possible but that being said, Sturridge has looked really sharp in pre-season so far and I’d like to see how he fares alongside both Mané and Salah.
Firmino offers far more to the team in terms of overall gameplay and his hold up play is arguably better than Sturridge’s when he’s on form but the Englishman just brings you that ability to bang a goal from anywhere and when he’s on his game – his class is undeniable.
I feel as if it’s nailed on that at least one will start and personally, I’m not all too bothered which one it is.