Jurgen Klopp will have to make some changes to Liverpool’s XI to face Manchester United today. It won’t look the same as his original plan nearly two weeks ago.
Here’s Liverpool’s original XI to face Manchester United earlier this month:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Milner; Salah, Mane, Firmino
We didn’t get to see it, of course, as the game was postponed shortly afterwards. Nearly two weeks later, injuries rule out the same selection.
So here are four changes Klopp may have to make.
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Ozan Kabak out
It appears Ozan Kabak won’t play in this one. The latest Liverpool team news says he’s very unlikely to do so, certainly.
That leaves two obvious options to partner Nat Phillips: Rhys Williams and Fabinho. The former faced Southampton on Saturday and Klopp is open to the idea of him starting again.
Alternatively, there’s Fabinho. That would bring about a different change, however.
Fabinho to defence?
This one is a choice for Klopp. He could simply leave Fabinho in midfield and use Williams.
But there’s a good chance he puts the Brazilian at the back. Williams and Phillips isn’t the most reliable or experienced partnership, after all, and Liverpool are up against an elite attack in United’s.
Perhaps Klopp will move Fabinho from his original plan, then. But that wouldn’t be the only midfield change.
James Milner out
Klopp sprung a bit of a surprise in picking James Milner over Gini Wijnaldum the first time around. He can’t do that this time, though.
Milner is also a big doubt for the game and won’t be starting at Old Trafford. That means Wijnaldum almost certainly will.
Thiago is the other virtual certainty but it does bring the Fabinho choice further into question. With Milner out – as well as Naby Keita and Jordan Henderson – does Klopp really want to take another midfielder out of contention?
It would certainly leave Liverpool short. But perhaps there’s another change he could make.
Thiago and Wijnaldum will likely be the only regular midfielders available if Fabinho plays at the back. And perhaps that’s an opportunity to go all-out attack against United.
It’s high-risk, of course, but Liverpool do need a win here. A draw almost certainly won’t be enough in the fight for Champions League qualification.
4-2-4 would mean the lack of midfield depth isn’t as much of an issue. And if Liverpool are going to attack for 90 minutes anyway, why not use all four forwards?
We don’t expect it but it’s certainly an option Klopp has this evening.