With just over two weeks remaining until Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side kicks off the Premier League season at home to Norwich City, The Reds play Sporting tonight at Yankee Stadium in New York.
It’s the final game of Liverpool’s US tour and the team’s third-last pre-season friendly before they face Manchester City in the Community Shield curtain-raiser at Wembley on August 4th.
Klopp has given plenty of opportunity to Liverpool’s youth talent over the last four games but now, as the competitive fixtures get closer and closer, he will most likely be opting for a more full-strength lineup against Sporting.
In goals, Simon Mignolet started the first three summer fixtures for Liverpool. However, newly-recruited veteran Andy Lonergan came in against Sevilla and had an impressive 45 minutes so the former Preston and Bolton stopper may well start against Sporting. Of course, Alisson Becker is not back in training yet as he was late starting his summer break due to his exploits at the Copa America with Brazil.
Tonight may well be the first time we see Liverpool’s first-choice back-four starting together this preseason. Joel Matip didn’t feature against Sevilla so he could start in central defence alongside Virgil van Dijk. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson will be on either side of the backline.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner have played most of the summer fixtures so far. Therefore, I think Klopp will be eager to give more gametime to Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum in midfield against Sporting.
In the attacking third, Liverpool’s trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané are still enjoying their summer breaks. Salah and Firmino will return to training next week but Mané isn’t back until August 5th.
In their absence, Klopp might be tempted to see how Rhian Brewster and Divock Origi work together as part of a front three. Harry Wilson could start on the right with Brewster through the middle and Origi wide left.
Liverpool’s predicted lineup Vs Sporting (4-3-3): Lonergan; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson(c), Wijnaldum; Wilson, Brewster, Origi
The match kicks off at 8:05pm local time in New York on Wednesday (1:05am – Wednesday night/Thursday morning UK time).