Liverpool travel to Atalanta in midweek to face the attack-minded Serie A outfit in the Champions League.
A victory will put Liverpool on nine points from their opening three group stage matches and will leave Jurgen Klopp’s just one win away from securing qualification into the knockout stages of the competition.
An away clash against a team that scored 98 goals in 38 Italian league matches last season represents Liverpool’s toughest remaining fixture of the group, and the Reds will need to be at their best if they are to get a result.
Even so, it is important Liverpool use the depth of their squad to their advantage and make changes, bringing in players who need the game time.
Here is a look at four players who should start against Atalanta.
Subscribe to Rousing The Kop TV now
Fantastic against FC Midtjylland last week having been forced to cover in the absence of Fabinho, who endured a hamstring problem that is set to see him out until after the international break.
Williams, 19, has had to bide his time since and wait for his next opportunity in Klopp’s starting XI.
To be fair to Joe Gomez and Nat Phillips, neither defender has given the manager any reason to drop them.
However, the latter is unable to feature in Europe after he failed to make Klopp’s Champions League preliminary squad despite a man-of-the-match performance on his Premier League debut against West Ham on Saturday.
This makes the prospect of pairing Williams alongside Gomez all the more likely and is an ideal opportunity to get him another 90 minutes in the tank before the international break.
Williams has shown he is good enough to warrant Klopp’s trust in what would represent his biggest test for Liverpool so far.
This is the type of game in which James Milner can thrive, and he has done in the past.
The Englishman has played well whenever given the chance in 2020 and is perhaps under-utilised by Liverpool.
Like Williams, he probably faces the prospect of being benched away against City, so this is a good opportunity to start him and once again showcase just how important he can be on club football’s biggest stage.
After all, Milner has the perfect experience for Liverpool in Europe after the 34-year-old became the first player in Champions League history to register nine assists in a single season during the 2017/18 campaign.
Jota has been knocking on Klopp’s door ever since he arrived from Wolves and it is time the manager listened. Substitute appearances are clearly not cutting it for the Portugal international.
He needs an opportunity to establish himself as a regular starting option and given Liverpool’s upcoming test against City, Klopp needs to get his in-form attacker primed and ready for the club’s biggest game of the season at the Etihad Stadium this weekend.
More so than Milner and Williams, Jota has a decent chance of playing himself into the line-up to face Pep Guardiola’s team on Sunday.
He has three goals in his previous three matches. Hopefully, his rich run of form can continue against Atalanta.
Xherdan Shaqiri has more than stated his case to be a starter for Liverpool at this point.
With Roberto Firmino displaying inconsistent form, the scene is set for Shaqiri to come in.
The Switzerland international has performed strongly whenever given the opportunity and it was Shaqiri that supplied the creative spark required to get past West Ham at the weekend.
Given Klopp will want his tried-and-trusted pedigreed front-three fit and ready for City, Shaqiri should get the nod in Europe given he is unlikely to start in Manchester.
- Joel Matip, Naby Keita and Kostas Tsimikas pictured back in training
- Predicted Liverpool XI v Atalanta, Milner and Jota in, Firmino out
- David Alaba rejects third contract offer at Bayern amid Liverpool links
- Liverpool supporters react to the performance of Xherdan Shaqiri
- Jamie Carragher hails brilliant Nat Phillips following Liverpool win
- Outstanding debut: Liverpool player ratings v West Ham
- Liverpool may have deadliest attacking depth since 2014
- Who is reported Liverpool target and Sevilla defender Jules Kounde?