We have a look at a predicted XI as Liverpool face Norwich City in the opening game of the 2019/20 Premier League season.
Every single Premier League game is big for Liverpool this season as they try to overhaul Manchester City. They’ll need to get off to a good start, naturally, but they also played a tiring 90 minutes on Sunday.
So what should Jurgen Klopp do at Anfield this Friday?
Goalkeeper – Alisson
There’s little doubt that Alisson will start. Why wouldn’t he? If Klopp did want to rest him, his backup isn’t even ready, having just joined days ago.
Back Four – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson
There are a couple of questions here but we won’t know the full extent of the players’ fitness until Friday, unfortunately.
Van Dijk and Robertson will almost undoubtedly play, despite playing the entire Community Shield game.
Alexander-Arnold didn’t play the full 90 minutes and so you’d think he will start against Norwich. Gomez will surely play there if the right-back doesn’t but he did play the full game against City. There’s a good reason to swap him out for Matip, if the rest of the defence are in any way tired.
Midfield – Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jordan Henderson
Jordan Henderson didn’t play the entire City game, so there’s little reason to leave him out here. The captain should kick off the season.
Fabinho didn’t either and Liverpool’s only out-and-and holding midfielder is worth playing if they start Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is back and, as the most direct and attacking option in midfield, would be a good option against a newly promoted side. He may need the extra protection that Fabinho offers but it would give him license to roam.
The Reds should attack and Oxlade-Chamberlain makes that easier.
Front three – Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane
Too soon for Mane? Very possibly as he only returned to training this week and Klopp admits it’s ‘wait and see’. We’ll admit that there will be little surprise if we got this one wrong. If he doesn’t start then Divock Origi likely will as he did against City.
But Mane would offer a freshness that neither Salah (who ran himself into the ground on Sunday but plays every game he can) and Firmino can’t quite.
So while it might be too soon, at home to a newly-promoted side seems like a good opportunity to get him up to speed quickly, if he’s up to it.
Predicted XI Liverpool v Norwich
Alexander-Arnold – Matip – Van Dijk – Robertson
Henderson – Fabinho – Oxlade-Chamberlain
Salah – Firmino – Mane(?)