Liverpool’s procession to the Premier League title may have had supporters believing that their fate was sealed as early as January, yet Jurgen Klopp has ensured that his players’ standards are to be maintained until the final ball of the season is kicked.
Although there is an idea of what Liverpool’s best XI is on paper, Klopp has proven in recent weeks that this is the period to make like-for-like changes in positions as the team begin to prepare for their title defence next season.
With this said, surely predicting the team for Wednesday’s clash with Arsenal should be straightforward right?
Assuming we are in for more of the same, and hopefully, another important win to aid Liverpool’s quest to the all-time record points haul, this then is how the English champions will line up…
Predicted XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Keita; Salah, Mane, Firmino.
No complaints, but changes are due…
If this is Liverpool’s starting line up, there will not be any complaints from supporters. A trip to the Emirates Stadium usually eludes to a manager playing at full-strength.
While the saying goes ‘one game at a time’, Liverpool have a week to prepare for their next match against Chelsea so it will be unlikely for Klopp to make wholesale changes to the team that was held by Burnley.
So if there is going to be rotation, there may be one or two players alternated with experience taking precedence over youth.
We have picked out two possible changes for the fixture…
Defence: Trent Alexander-Arnold was certainly due a rest at some stage having featured in all of Liverpool’s 34 PL encounters prior to Burnley. The 21-year-old featured on the bench on Saturday with Neco Williams earning back-to-back PL starts for the first time in his promising career.
It is unlikely that the Welshman will be given the nod again on Wednesday considering his lack of experience and with Alexander-Arnold most likely desperate to return to the starting XI, it seems almost certain that the West Derby full-back will return to the team.
Midfield: Curtis Jones has been selected as the candidate likely to drop out of the starting XI. The academy graduate was handed his first Premier League start against Burnley and produced an assured and accomplished performance that vindicated the manager’s faith.
However, given Arsenal’s impressive form and recent transformation under Mikel Arteta, Wednesday’s trip to the capital arguably represents Liverpool’s toughest fixture left.
With that said, it may be tempting for Klopp to go with experience at the Emirates. With club-captain Jordan Henderson out for the final three games following a knee injury and James Milner unlikely to recover in time, the next best senior option would be Naby Keita.
The Guinean midfielder has had a resurgence of life since the restart and has been one of the Reds’ most impressive performers since the season resumed. Performances against Brighton, Aston Villa and Everton were particularly encouraging.
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