Liverpool return to Premier League action on Sunday with a tantalising trip to Stamford Bridge and Chelsea next on the cards for Jurgen Klopp and his English champions.

The Reds will hope to improve from their opening day victory against Leeds United which saw Liverpool require a hat-trick from Mohamed Salah to paper over the defensive mishaps that saw Marcelo Bielsa’s side hand Klopp and his players an almighty Anfield scare.

It’s because of such an unconvincing performance which prompts more questions over team selection heading into the weekend clash with Frank Lampard’s Blues.

Liverpool v Leeds United - Premier League - Jurgen Klopp

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 12: Liverpool’s Joe Gomez shields the ball from Leeds United’s Patrick Bamford during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on September 12, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Defence

Liverpool shipped three goals from three shots at goal on the opening day of the season and this could see Klopp think twice about whether his defensive quartet could benefit from a tactical tweak.

After-all, last season’s historic title triumph in 2019-20 was built on rock-solid foundations. It was their ability to keep clean sheets and grind out narrow wins when not at their best which set them apart from Manchester City.

With that said, Klopp could look to make one change in central defensive with Joel Matip finally back to full fitness.

The Cameroonian defender was overlooked for Saturday’s victory but given Liverpool’s struggles from the back, it could prompt Klopp to hand Matip his opportunity to shine.

Joe Gomez was far too erratic against Leeds and was pulled out of position on more than one occasion which led to unwanted gaps in central defence between the Englishman and Virgil van Dijk.

Klopp made a similar call last season after giving Gomez the initial nod against Norwich on the opening day in August 2019 only to hand Matip his opportunity in the following match against Southampton.

Liverpool v Leeds United - Premier League

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 12: Naby Keita of Liverpool is challenged by Pascal Struijk of Leeds United during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on September 12, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Paul Ellis – Pool/Getty Images)

Midfield

Predicting Liverpool’s midfield is far from simple given the number of options Klopp has at his disposal

Naby Keita didn’t quite put in the performance we hoped for against Leeds United on Saturday which suggests the Guinean talisman still has a ways to go.

The former RB Leipzig just never got going. He had positive moments, certainly. There were few dribbles here and there, as well as some nice counter-pressing from the front.

But in the end, he finished the game without a successful tackle, without any key passes, and without a significant impact according to WhoScored.

 

Fabinho, meanwhile, made a huge improvement to the team following his substitution in the second half and it was the Brazilian who won the all-important penalty that led to Salah firing home the winner.

Curtis Jones also impressed from the bench and demonstrated to Klopp that he can directly affect matches with the West-Derby midfielder expected to play a more prominent role this season.

Liverpool v Leeds United - Premier League

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 12: Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on September 12, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Attack

While there is no debate what Liverpool’s strongest attacking line-up predominantly features, there was a cause for concern regarding the performance of Roberto Firmino at the weekend.
The Brazil international made zero key passes and had had no shots on target against Leeds.
Even more telling is that Firmino has been able to score just one goal in his previous 16 league encounters for the Reds.
It is unlikely that Klopp will make any alterations just yet but the longer Firmino remains unconvincing in front of goal the more questions that will be forced the manager’s way before he is expected to act.
Luckily for Firmino, he was on the scoresheet during the same fixture last season and hopefully Liverpool’s No.9 can replicate his Stamford Bridge endeavours this time around to hand Firmino a much-needed boost in front of goal.
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