Jurgen Klopp has some difficult decisions to make in 2019/20 regarding his first-choice starting lineup. The midfield, like last season, will probably pose the toughest questions of the Liverpool manager.
The squad’s middle third is a well-stocked area at the moment. Disregarding any potential incoming signings this summer, The Reds already have eight players who Klopp can choose from.
Right now, it’s anyone’s guess which players make up Klopp’s preferred midfield trio after he tested many combinations during the 2018/19 campaign.
There was some excitement among Liverpool fans back in April after Jordan Henderson was released from the shackles of his role as a holding midfielder. With Fabinho having made himself virtually undroppable due to his consistently good performances, Henderson was entrusted with a more forward-roving duty now that The Reds had a trustworthy defensive midfielder behind him.
It was against FC Porto in the Champions League tie at Anfield when Klopp fielded Fabinho, Henderson and Naby Keita together in the midfield. It worked well, very well.
The following Sunday, Klopp stuck with the same triumvirate as Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 in the Premier League.
Gini Wijnaldum was Klopp’s ‘favoured’ starting midfielder in 2018/19 with the Dutchman part of the starting XI in 32 Premier League games. The next highest starters in midfield were Jordan Henderson and Fabinho who both had 21. James Milner (19), Naby Keita (16), Xherdan Shaqiri (11) and Adam Lallana (5) made up the rest of Klopp’s midfield selections throughout the season.
James Milner, at 33, will most likely slip down the pecking order while Xherdan Shaqiri and Adam Lallana will both expect to feature mainly from the bench. Therefore, when all midfielders are fit to play, Klopp will most likely be choosing his starting three from the five of Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who returned in April after a year out due to a dreadful knee injury.
Liverpool are certain to have a huge amount of fixtures in 2019/20, thanks to added extras such as the Community Shield, the European Super Cup and the Club World Championship in Qatar.
All eight of Liverpool’s current midfielders are sure to get plenty of opportunities to impress Klopp. Whether, when given the chance, they do thrill their watching boss, is up to them.