Liverpool host Austrian champions RB Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.
Sadio Mane and Naby Keita earned their European reputations at the club before moving on to better things. But the Reds should bench both men against their former club and here’s why.
Mane would usually be one of the first names on the team sheet. The Senegal international has developed into one of the world’s best forwards since joining Liverpool in 2016.
During Liverpool’s training session today, Mane was nowhere to be seen and could potentially be nursing an injury ahead of the game.
This would explain his out-of-sorts performance against Sheffield United over the weekend. Liverpool’s best chances fell to Mane who fluffed his lines on more than one occasion.
If he’s suffering a knock or is just feeling jaded, Jurgen Klopp should bench Mane for this one.
Divock Origi is chomping at the bit for game time and should be given the opportunity to repeat his Champions League performances of last season.
Naby Keita, on the other hand, is on the road back from a long-term injury. The 24-year-old is not at his best right now and shouldn’t play in such an important game.
Reds midfielders Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all ahead of Keita right now.
The Guinea play-maker must force his way back into Klopp’s first-team and live up to expectations on Merseyside.
Both Mane and Kieta are not their best right now and should not start against RB Salzburg at Anfield.