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'Hardly ever': Merson thinks Klopp's about to hand Liverpool player his first PL start since January

Paul Merson thinks that Jurgen Klopp will play James Milner at right-back for Liverpool against Watford on Saturday.

Giving his pre-match prediction for Sportskeeda, Merson said that Klopp will choose between Joe Gomez and Milner. But personally he thinks it’ll be Milner.

“With Trent Alexander-Arnold missing due to injury, Jurgen Klopp might turn to Joe Gomez or James Milner to deputize at right-back,” said Merson.

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“I think he’ll go with the latter, because when Milner plays, he hardly ever disappoints.”

It looks like being a straight fight between the two players for the starting spot while Trent is missing. Either one isn’t completely ideal but Liverpool will have to find a way to make it work

Square pegs in round holes

The Athletic reported on Tuesday that Klopp is actually likely to stick with Gomez at right-back until Alexander-Arnold returns.

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He did a good job in the position against Nottingham Forest in Liverpool’s last game before the international break. And it makes sense to keep him in the rhythm with a big game against Benfica coming up mid-week.

Gomez hasn’t always had the best injury record at Liverpool. In that sense, Klopp might give him the day off against Watford and prioritise the Champions League game.

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In that case, Milner could be expected to start the game at the weekend. The 36-year-old hasn’t started a Premier League game since the draw against Chelsea in January. In case of any issues with Gomez, Klopp could do without him coming in cold.

But Gomez needs to build up his match practice in the role too, especially if Trent doesn’t manage to return for the massive game against Manchester City.

The situation does highlight the need for Liverpool to bring in a specialist back-up right-back. Neco Williams is expected to make his loan move away from the club a permanent one in the summer.

It’s fine to have Gomez or Milner step in for the odd game over the season. But if Alexander-Arnold goes down for any length of time, The Reds are significantly weakened.

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