Here’s our predicted Liverpool lineup vs Chelsea on Sunday. The Reds go into this one needing to bounce back.
Liverpool travel to face Chelsea this weekend in a massive title clash. Both teams are underdogs to win the league, of course, with Manchester City on the verge of pulling away. That only makes this a bigger game, however – lose and you may not recover.
So with that in mind, Liverpool can count themselves lucky. Chelsea have suffered several injury blows in the buildup to this one, whereas the Reds can count on a fairly full squad.
Andy Robertson is suspended and won’t play but outside of that, Liverpool look good.
But there is one extra consideration. This will be the last fixture before Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita head off to the Africa Cup of Nations. There’s an extra sense that Liverpool need to take advantage of this because things are about to become a whole lot more difficult.
Predicted Liverpool lineup vs Chelsea
The back five looks fairly routine here. Alisson Becker will start in goal, Trent Alexander-Arnold is a certainty at right-back and Kostas Tsimikas will start in place of Robertson.
Virgil van Dijk will start, of course, but his partner isn’t 100% certain. We imagine it’ll be Joel Matip, given his superb recent form. But if Liverpool don’t fancy him after starting vs Leicester City, Ibrahima Konate appears to be third-choice.
Fabinho and Jordan Henderson are again certainties here. But as for the third midfielder, we’re not at all sure.
Our pick is undoubtedly Thiago. If he’s fit – he missed the game against Leicester with a muscles injury – then Liverpool desperately need him in the team right now. But it depends on his fitness.
If Thiago is out, then we want to see Naby Keita in his place. The Guinean won’t be available after this game but is the best alternative to Thiago right now.
Liverpool simply have to Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for all kinds of reasons. This will be their last start until February, in all likelihood.
Salah is a certainty anyway, of course, but Mane’s poor recent form does put his role in question. Giving him a chance to turn things around sits right with us, though.
As for the centre-forward role, it’s either Diogo Jota or Roberto Firmino. The former started vs Leicester but was terribly isolated – we think he suits the role better when Thiago is there to progress the ball. Firmino may be the better choice if the Spaniard can’t play.
Our predicted Liverpool lineup vs Chelsea
Alexander-Arnold – Matip – Van Dijk – Tsimikas
Henderson – Thiago
Salah – Jota – Mane