The three Liverpool players Klopp must start against Chelsea at Anfield

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Nathaniel Philipps

Jack Hallows wants to see Klopp ring in the changes during the Reds’ midweek clash with Chelsea and hopes to get a look at these three players in particular. 

Liverpool have been on fire in the Premier League so far, winning six out of six, while their Champions League campaign also started perfectly.

Now, however, their attentions turn to the first of two domestic competitions that they will compete in this season – the League Cup.

While other top Premier League sides have the perceived ‘luxury’ of winnable fixtures against lower division clubs – Manchester City face Oxford United for instance – the Reds’ host Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea side.

Both sides will likely field different XIs to those that you can expect during the upcoming Premier League fixture between the same two sides on Saturday afternoon, the game still promises to be an intense affair and Klopp will likely play a mixture of quality and youth.

Here are three players I’d like to see feature as the German strives to achieve the perfect balance between the two.

Fabinho

I’ll start with perhaps the most obvious.

Fabinho has endured a slow start to life at Liverpool Football Club, with Klopp putting the Brazilian through similar treatment to that faced last season by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andrew Robertson.

Coming from a Monaco side that played a counter-attacking 4-4-2, Fabinho has been afforded time to learn how to play as the sole ‘6’ in a 4-3-3 and adapt to Klopp’s high pressure, possession-based system.

After not even travelling for his new club’s first handful of fixtures this season, Fabinho’s progress has evidently been positive, with the midfielder finally making the ’18’ for the last trio of fixtures against Spurs, PSG and Southampton.

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Perhaps helped by an encouraging international break with Brazil, the midfielder looks in good shape and amid a difficult run of fixtures, this is perhaps the lowest risk 90 minutes to throw him into the deep end.

The Reds’ number 3 is going to play a vital role this season as the fixtures pile up and affording him game time to really grease the wheels and learn first-hand how to operate as a Klopp midfielder will be essential to keeping him in form and confident.

Nat Phillips

With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both likely to be given a rest ahead of the weekend and Dejan Lovren still on the road to returning from injury, Joël Matip and Nat Phillips would be the likely centre half pairing.

Matip’s return to the starting XI was impressive on Saturday when he was fielded against Southampton but Phillips hasn’t featured since pre-season when he impressed out of nowhere – particularly against Manchester United in the States.

Initially a surprise selection, the 21-year old grew in confidence and stature as pre-season went on with his ability on the ball perhaps the most impressive part of his inclusion.

With our senior centre backs needing wrapping in cotton wool – VVD and Gomez in particular – ahead of some tough fixtures, Phillips should definitely be given an opportunity against quality opposition.

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While Chelsea aren’t likely to field a front three of Hazard, Morata and Pedro like they may well do on the weekend, players such as Willian and Giroud could yet feature and would provide a stern test of the Englishman’s abilities.

If he performs well, he would provide another good addition to Klopp’s squad depth when rotation is required.

Xherdan Shaqiri

The Swiss international was afforded his full Liverpool debut on Saturday afternoon, playing a large part in everything that Liverpool did well during the first-half before Klopp called a premature end to his involvement at half time.

His substitution points towards a start midweek against their London-based visitors and I hope this turns out to be the case.

The 26-year old looked bright every time we saw him in pre-season and his performances both off the bench and from the starting whistle against Southampton have been more than encouraging.

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Whether it’s starting on the right-hand side of a front three, or playing off a striker/pair of strikers, Shaqiri could be a real difference maker for the Reds not just on Wednesday night but also going forward this season.

However, like Fabinho, it’s important for him to get as many minutes as he can where possible in order to keep him in form, on song and perhaps most importantly in a Klopp system, match fit.

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