Jurgen Klopp gave us a hint at his plans for Manchester City with Liverpool’s substitutions against Porto. The boss must have a team in mind.
Jurgen Klopp took a real risk with his starting XI on Tuesday evening. He went full-strength against Porto, despite an intense game against Brentford just a few days prior.
More importantly, he did this ahead of Manchester City on Sunday. That’s arguably Liverpool’s biggest game of the entire season but Klopp wasn’t willing to rest a few stars.
Liverpool’s 5-1 win presented an opportunity, however. Klopp took off several players he usually wouldn’t, knowing the game was won.
So what do those subs tell us about his plans for Manchester City?
Klopp plans for City
Klopp made a triple substitution on 67 minutes, just six minutes after Mohamed Salah put Liverpool 3-0 up.
Both Salah and Sadio Mane left the field, essentially confirming that they’ll face City from the start. Roberto Firmino came on, too, which gave him 23 minutes to warm up for Sunday’s fixture.
He shone in those minutes and, in our opinion, earned a start against City.
The other sub at that time was Joe Gomez on for James Milner. Now, with Trent Alexander-Arnold likely missing the City game, these are the two contenders at right-back.
Klopp saved Milner for that one, then, but also got a good look at Gomez in the role. We imagine the 35-year-old will start, though the door is certainly open for the younger defender.
Klopp’s sub on 73 minutes – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Jordan Henderson – is fairly straightforward. The captain went off early, keeping him injury-free for Sunday.
The final change came on 88 minutes. Diogo Jota left the field for Divock Origi and you can’t say that a sub that late is ‘saving’ a player. In fact, we think it’s a sign that Jota won’t start against the champions.
Klopp made sure he didn’t pick up any late injuries but it’s quite telling that Jota played 20 minutes more than Salah and Mane. We think he might be an impact sub for Sunday.
Another telling move was keeping Curtis Jones on the pitch. The 20-year-old was brilliant but that’s now three starts in a week and a full 90 in Porto – he’s played more than anyone else over the last nine days. Will he be fit for Sunday?
We wonder if Klopp may move the youngster to the bench for that one. It’s hard to imagine Jones is fighting fit right now.