Here’s our predicted lineup as Liverpool host Burnley in their penultimate home game. Jurgen Klopp has some decisions to make after an injury.
Injury in midfield
Klopp confirmed on Friday that Jordan Henderson won’t play again this season. That’s ‘the best possible’ news, he says, suggesting there were fears the captain would miss a chunk of next season, too.
But while it may have been ‘good’ news, it still confuses team selections for the rest of this season. The immediate effect, we imagine, will be that Fabinho plays every remaining game.
There’s a chance that Gini Wijnaldum fills in the holding role for a game, of course. But with James Milner having already missed most games since the restart through injury, the advanced midfield roles are running light as is.
We’d think that the Dutchman will always fill one of the two unless he needs a game off, then.
The Arsenal game
Injuries won’t be the only thing on Klopp’s mind when making his selection. The Reds face Arsenal just four days after Burnley and it will be a game worth saving players for.
It’s why we expect Milner to face Burnley, with Naby Keita rested to face the Gunners. Milner doesn’t typically face the ‘bigger’ sides from the start and Burnley could be a decent game to continue his injury comeback.
Keita, on the other hand, has started the last two and impressed. So he could likely do with a bit of a rest, while he’s also played himself into the starting XI for Arsenal, in our minds.
One player could use a rest even more, though – Trent Alexander-Arnold. He’s started every game since the restart and played at least 74 minutes in each.
A quick second chance
If Alexander-Arnold does sit out, it provides a fantastic opportunity to give Neco Williams a second chance. The teenager started his first Premier League game against Brighton but only lasted 45 minutes before he came off.
In truth, he struggled a bit. But he was playing an unusual position out on the left. Burnley at home would be a good chance to give him a more comfortable start on the right, as well as allowing him to show he can handle the pressures of Premier League football.
The front three
There’s a very good chance that the front three start every game until the end of the season. Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have both had rests in recent games, while Mohamed Salah rarely sits out.
He’s also gunning for the Golden Boot, which may make him difficult to leave on the bench. We’d back him to see through both this game and Arsenal, which would give him a week’s rest before Chelsea.
That said, it wouldn’t be surprising if this were the game Klopp chose to rest the Egyptian. Out of the four remaining fixtures, this is the one to do it if Salah does need to sit one out.
Predicted Liverpool XI v Burnley
Neco Williams – Joe Gomez – Virgil van Dijk – Andy Robertson
James Milner – Gini Wijnaldum
Mohamed Salah – Roberto Firmino – Sadio Mane