Liverpool are already seeing the benefits of their UEFA Champions League campaign as they pick their team v Arsenal. The Reds host the Gunners on Saturday.
Liverpool have had a topsy-turvy international break to say the least. We’ve seen injury fears over Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson, Divock Origi and Andy Robertson over the two-week period.
Fortunately, most appear to have been nothing. Mane, Henderson and Origi are all training or at least will be ahead of Arsenal on Sunday.
Not that the international break is the only reason for injury concern. Roberto Firmino picked up a hamstring injury ahead of the break, for instance, and could be out for some time.
Naby Keita, too, isn’t back training yet. He could be out for another few games. Curtis Jones is another who’s out, as well as Harvey Elliott, of course.
It means that Liverpool remain a little light in the squad right now. Fortunately, they can benefit from a record Champions League campaign.
Liverpool team to benefit v Arsenal
Usually, Klopp’s team selection would be in trouble for a game like this. After all, the Reds host Porto in the Champions League in midweek.
But Liverpool are already through, of course, with the earliest progression they’ve ever managed. Four wins out of four, top spot confirmed.
It means there’s very little riding on the Porto game. We still expect Klopp to put out some stars in that game but he certainly doesn’t need to rest anyone for it.
Firmino’s injury would usually put pressure on him. There would be a temptation to leave one of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Diogo Jota for the Champions League clash, perhaps playing Divock Origi against Arsenal.
Instead, Klopp can play his best XI in the game that matters, worrying about Porto afterwards. It’s a wonderful position to be in and Arsenal will face Liverpool’s best available team as a result.
That, already, is a benefit of dominating their Champions League group.