Liverpool face Manchester City on at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon for a titanic Premier League encounter between two major title rivals.
Jurgen Klopp’s team head into the match in good form having won all of their previous five matches, including a stunning 5-0 victory against Atalanta in midweek.
City meanwhile, welcome the English champions off the back of back-to-back wins against Sheffield United and Olympiacos. Pep Guardiola’s team currently trail Liverpool by five points in the league table.
When Liverpool have had a big against attack-minded opposition, Klopp has often turned to his tried-and-tested 4-3-3 formation.
Liverpool were absolutely outstanding against Atalanta on Tuesday and replicating such a performance will be essential at the Etihad.
The Reds don’t exactly have the strongest record at City’s home ground in recent seasons, losing their previous three league encounters against Pep Guardiola away.
This will enforce Liverpool’s need for a more controlled and balanced 4-3-3 system come Sunday.
Liverpool are hoping that Joel Matip will be deemed fit enough to start after he was passed to make the bench against Atalanta following a previous muscle injury.
The one change in defence will likely see Matip partner Joe Gomez as opposed to either Rhys Williams or Nat Phillips with both players lacking the experience to be thrown against such formidable opposition.
In midfield, Klopp is likely to turn to his trusted duo of Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum while the final spot in the manager’s triumvirate remains firmly up for grabs.
Thiago Alcantara has been ruled out of the trip to the Etihad with the Spaniard still nursing a knee injury while Fabinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also both unavailable.
That leaves the final spot in midfield to be contested by James Milner, Naby Keita and Curtis Jones.
Milner would be the sensible choice given his experience in such big matches while Keita and Jones could inject some much-needed attacking impetus if needed.
Liverpool have a tough decision to find the right combination. This could be an ideal time to hand Diogo Jota only his third Premier League start for the Reds.
The Portuguese international was absolutely unstoppable in midweek registering his first career hat-trick for Liverpool and certainly deserves to retain his place.
Roberto Firmino still could come into the team but the possibility of Klopp dropping either Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah are extremely thin given the fact both have begun the season in devastating form.
If Klopp chooses to utilise a front-three it will see either Firmino or Jota as the unfortunate victim to be left on the bench.
This team would see two changes from the midweek fixture.
In: Matip and Milner
Out: Williams and Jones
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