Liverpool are expected to rotate the team in midweek against Arsenal during the second weekly instalment that will feature both Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta going head-to-head under the lights at Anfield on Thursday night.

The Reds boss is expected to make wholesale changes to the team that triumphed 3-1 on Monday with potentially as many as 10 selection alterations.

One area of the team which is difficult to predict is the defence given that Klopp is likely to rest his defensive quartet that started against Arsenal.

Virgil van Dijk is in desperate need of a rest having started in all four of Liverpool’s 2020/21 fixtures so far this season. Full-backs Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold are both also expected to rotate with defensive deputies Kostas Tsimikas and Neco Williams waiting in the wings.

While the full-back positions pick themselves in both league and domestic cup competitions, the central defence is a much more ambiguous prospect to predict.

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Injuries have complicated Klopp’s thought process for the Arsenal game given he will be without Joel Matip who will be unavailable for selection until after the international break.

Billy Koumetio could fill in as cover following his impressive performances in pre-season although the 17-year-old talent is still a fitness concern after he missed the Lincoln City match after failing a fitness assessment.

He did feature for the U18s during a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City but a senior start could be a little too early for Koumetio.

This makes the case for Rhys Williams to retain his place following an impressive club debut last week in the Carabao Cup.

Lincoln City v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Third Round

LINCOLN, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 24: Liverpools Rhys Williams during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Lincoln City and Liverpool at LNER Stadium on September 24, 2020 in Lincoln, England. (Photo by Andrew Vaughan – CameraSport via Getty Images)

A chance to build on momentum

As it stands, Williams is not likely to break into Klopp’s Premier League squad anytime soon. He needs the cup competitions to prove his worth.

This game is the perfect opportunity to further showcase his credentials after shining at the back alongside Van Dijk and Fabinho last week.

Injuries have hampered Klopp’s ability to regularly rotate central defensive partners in between competitions and there could be a cause for either Van Dijk or Gomez to retain their place in the starting XI on Thursday.

Given Van Dijk featured last time in the cup, it is likely that Gomez will get the go-ahead this time around as Liverpool face Arsenal in the fourth round of the League Cup for a second successive year.

Williams excelled with his positional play and composure on the ball and his towering frame also handed him a significant advantage with his aerial duels.


Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp speaks during a television interview after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on September 28, 2020. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by LAURENCE GRIFFITHS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Klopp factor

Another potentially determining factor in Williams retaining his spot against Arsenal is Klopp maintained belief that if a player seizes the opportunity presented then they will be rewarded in the future.

In previous press conferences, Klopp has insisted that momentum is the key to his team selection; if this is true then Williams simply has to start against Arsenal.

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