Jurgen Klopp has a lot of decisions to make when he chooses who to start vs Norwich City today. Here are four Liverpool players who will be desperate to get the nod.
Virgil van Dijk / Joe Gomez / Joel Matip
Alright, so our first ‘player’ is actually three. We’re lumping them together, though, as the explanation is the same for each.
Virgil van Dijk hasn’t played since October, Joe Gomez since November, and Joel Matip since January. They will be desperate to start this one.
Fortunately, at least one of them will. We think Ibrahima Konate will play as one of the centre-backs and then it’s up to Klopp who plays alongside him.
But he’s got to be careful. As eager as all three will be, Liverpool still can’t take any risks with the returning stars. Whoever is the most ready surely makes the XI.
The good news for Kostas Tsimikas is that he almost certainly does start vs Norwich. Andy Robertson will be out for the foreseeable future and that makes the Greek Liverpool’s best option.
Tsimikas actually arrived a year ago but his first campaign was a difficult one. His own injuries limited opportunities to play, while injuries elsewhere left Klopp reluctant to throw him in.
The result was a campaign with just six Premier League minutes. Today should be his big chance to correct that. And for what it’s worth, we think Tsimikas is an exciting player to see.
Klopp admits that both Thiago and Jordan Henderson are doubts to start vs Norwich. What an opportunity for Naby Keita, then.
This will be Keita’s fourth year with Liverpool and we still haven’t seen consistent brilliance from him. He’s the only major signing we can say that about since Klopp took over.
This, then, might be his final chance to earn a Liverpool future and it starts today. Keita has been great in pre-season, which gives us hope.
But we need to see him do it in competitive games. The absence of Thiago and Henderson allows Klopp to give Keita a real chance, then.
And he’ll need to take it. Those two will be back before long and represent Liverpool’s first-choice midfield. If Keita does get the nod vs Norwich, the pressure will be on.
Roberto Firmino didn’t have his best campaign last time out. He struggled for form and goals pretty much all season.
So wanting to correct that and get back on track will leave him desperate to start this one. But there’s another reason, too.
Diogo Jota is quickly looking like a star and Firmino may be in line to lose his place in Liverpool’s famed front-three. The Brazilian will want Klopp’s backing that he’s still the first-choice centre-forward in this squad.
So in some ways, this will be Klopp’s biggest decision today. Who is his first-choice attack? Has Jota forced his way in or does Firmino still hold the role?
We can’t wait to find out.