Jurgen Klopp hinted at Liverpool changes ahead of the clash with Manchester City this weekend. The boss says he has ‘solutions’.
“We have a good team so we still have solutions and we have to use them and yeah, after the international break the boys will be back I think,” Jurgen Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com.
He was talking about Thiago and Trent Alexander-Arnold – the duo will miss Sunday’s game. Both would almost certainly have started the fixture, leaving Liverpool light.
So what kind of changes to his preferred XI could Klopp make? Let’s have a look at three.
The most obvious way Klopp can tackle this game is by simply keeping the same XI that beat FC Porto on Tuesday. That saw James Milner play instead of Alexander-Arnold & Curtis Jones in place of Thiago.
It worked excellently, of course, as Liverpool won the game 5-1. But it would be asking a lot of the same XI to go again. It’s essentially the team that faced Brentford on Saturday, too, and would push players to three games in eight days.
Certain players may be capable of that but many aren’t. Jordan Henderson usually sits out a game in runs like this, while the centre-backs may not be 100% as they continue to work back from injury.
The alternative is to maybe play Joe Gomez at right-back and Naby Keita in midfield. Both would bring something different and have the added bonus of fresh legs.
Gomez is perhaps the easiest one to argue, here. Putting an out-and-out defensive player up against Jack Grealish makes a lot of sense, rather than a 35-year-old midfielder.
Keita is a harder one to argue, given Jones’s form. But perhaps Klopp would fancy more experience in there for a game like this. We’re not sure it’s a change we’d make, though it’s very possible.
We do wonder if Klopp will go 4-2-4 for this one. It’s something he did against City a year ago and he hinted at the possibility against Brentford.
It has its benefits. City will want a lot of the ball and the 4-2-4 offers a lot of danger on the counter-attack. The system also places far less emphasis on the full-backs attacking – particularly important without Alexander-Arnold.
Klopp could also limit the players in midfield, where Liverpool maybe aren’t as strong as they’d like to be without Thiago. The front-four is an obvious one and means the team can easily integrate Roberto Firmino after his brilliant display in Portugal.
It might be high-risk but Liverpool can make sense of it.