Liverpool’s bench could be a difference-maker vs Manchester United on Saturday. Jurgen Klopp has some game-changing options.
Liverpool will want every advantage they can get against Manchester United. Fortunately, they found one quite early in the fixture list.
The Reds played their UEFA Champions League game on Tuesday, while United played theirs on Wednesday. Both games were intense to the finish and both featured first-choice teams.
Liverpool, though, get an extra day of rest.
And we wonder if the teams’ respective benches could hand Liverpool another advantage. That might sound strange seeing as United do have more depth in quality but the Reds perhaps boast more game-changers.
Liverpool’s bench vs United
No matter who Jurgen Klopp picks on Sunday, his bench will feature players who can change the game. Take midfield, for example.
Fabinho and Jordan Henderson will almost certainly start. The third midfielder, though, is up for debate. Perhaps Klopp will go with James Milner’s experience or Naby Keita’s ability to move with the ball.
Or maybe Curtis Jones recovers in time to go straight in as an extra threat. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made a great case for himself against Atletico Madrid, too.
Regardless of who Klopp picks, the other three sit on the bench as alternatives. No matter what situation Liverpool find themselves in, they can adapt. Need to tighten up? Throw in Milner. Need a goal? Put in Jones or Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Up top, too, it’s even more obvious. The big decision there is Diogo Jota or Roberto Firmino and the two of them provide different styles.
Firmino drops deep and links with midfield, causing havoc between the lines. He suits Liverpool in a possession game, capable of working the ball quickly in tight spaces.
Jota, on the other hand, suits playing a more direct game on the break. If United want to push Liverpool, Klopp can use his no.20 as an extra threat in behind.
Again, Klopp will choose one and the other becomes an opportunity to completely change the game. Firmino already has three goals as a substitute this season, for instance.
We’re not sure United boast the same luxury. Edinson Cavani offers something quite similar stylistically to Cristiano Ronaldo up top. As does Antony Martial to Marcus Rashford.
While United’s midfield options don’t have the same depth to them, depending on what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does with Paul Pogba.
Liverpool might just have an advantage here, then. Klopp can win the tactical battle like this and that tends to be a key one against United.
Even if the advantage is minor, it’s one we’ll take.