Jurgen Klopp should play Gini Wijnaldum from the start against Barcelona, leaving Jordan Henderson to the bench.
That, right away, is a risk. Henderson is the captain and has been in brilliant form over the last month or two.
But injuries and results have changed things. Henderson rarely plays three games in a week, for instance, as shown by starting on the bench in Barcelona.
Naby Keita went off, however, and the captain was forced to play. He then played against Newcastle United on Friday – he may not have the energy to deliver for 90 minutes vs Barcelona.
But the result of the first-leg also comes into play. Liverpool haven’t got an away goal. Playing full-throttle football isn’t really an option – control is key and Liverpool will, ideally, want to go in at half-time with a one or two-nil lead.
Wijnaldum offers more protection in midfield as he’s happier to sit back and find space in front of a team. Henderson, on the other hand, tries to get behind defences and into the box regularly. If Liverpool want to control the game and stay patient, Wijnaldum, a £25m arrival from Newcastle, is the man.
It’s worth remembering Henderson’s impact from the bench against Southampton, too. He was able to come on, immediately raise the tempo, and left the pitch with a goal and assist. Against FC Porto, too, he picked up a brilliant assist shortly after coming on.
James Milner will surely start after missing the Newcastle game, as well as his fantastic record in the Champions League. Fabinho has made the ‘pivot’ role his own in front of the defence. It leaves one spot. Klopp should give it to Wijnaldum over Henderson for the best chance of beating Barcelona.