Liverpool face Crystal Palace this weekend and with a few key players out injured, I believe that Joel Matip must start in central defence and Naby Keita must be given the chance to start in central midfield.

After this weekend’s test against the Eagles, Liverpool will fly out to Dubai for a short warm weather training camp to revitalise and re-energise before the title run in later this season.

The festive fixture list might have gone flawlessly for Liverpool but the Reds are clearly feeling the effects of having played 11 games in just over a month, with defenders dropping like flies.

Only Virgil van Dijk, Alberto Moreno, Andy Robertson and Joel Matip remain as the club’s fit senior defenders with Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dejan Lovren all out injured.

With TAA injured for the next month after sustaining a knee problem, it looks as though James Milner will need to employ all of his experience to keep Wilfred Zaha quiet at Anfield as he is set to start at right back on Saturday.

At centre-back, if he is fit enough after returning to training before the Brighton win, Joel Matip has to start alongside Virgil van Dijk to look to free up Fabinho to play in central midfield.

 

The Brazilian can then play in a double pivot alongside captain Jordan Henderson. The big call that Jurgen Klopp needs to make, however, is to play Naby Keita in his preferred central midfield role this weekend – and from the start not just for 10 minutes at the end.

The Guinean is lacking in confidence as his three-minute cameo showed against Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Saturday. For a player with as much technical quality as Keita, you would imagine he would come on to the pitch and just dance around players.

We all know he is capable of it but when he came on against the Seagulls, he gave the ball away with his first touch and it led to a chance for Glenn Murray and almost wound up in Liverpool dropping two points.

What Keita desperately needs is 60-90 minutes of Premier League football in central midfield under his belt so that he can get back to the basics and remind the world why Liverpool paid £52million for him.

Given that Georginio Wijnaldum might miss the clash through injury, it’s the perfect chance to send Keita out and give him a free license in front of Henderson and Fabinho to link up with Salah, Firmino and Mane.

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