Liverpool v Villarreal - UEFA Champions League
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'Outstanding' midfielder starts again but Klopp makes five changes: Liverpool's predicted XI for tonight

Liverpool head to Spain tonight attempting to reach a third Champions League final in five years.

The Reds are big favourites having comfortably overcome Unai Emery’s Villarreal at Anfield last week, winning 2-0.

The Yellow Submarine will be hoping things follow a different script at their Estadio de la Ceramica home this evening. But Jurgen Klopp rested players for the 1-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday lunchtime, and Liverpool will be fresh.

It’s massive game after massive game for Liverpool at the moment, here’s how we think they’ll line up for this one.

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Defence

No question marks about the goalkeeper, Alisson Becker has possibly had his best season in a Liverpool shirt in 2021/22. He’ll start again this evening.

Who lines up at right-back for Liverpool in Spain will be similarly predictable. Trent Alexander-Arnold had a well-earned break on Saturday but will return to start here.

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Alongside him is likely to be Ibrahima Konate. Klopp seems happy to rotate between the Frenchman and Joel Matip at the moment, with Konate getting the nod in Europe.

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Virgil Van Dijk and Andy Robertson are nailed-on starters in the biggest games for The Reds, of which this is certainly one.

Midfield

Klopp was able to make use of his plentiful options in midfield at the weekend. This allowed Fabinho to get a rare break, and he should return full of life to the line-up tonight.

Thiago Alcantara was another of those rested for the trip to Tyneside. The midfield maestro was only used for the last ten minutes or so as Liverpool saw a tricky game out.

Thiago has been one of The Reds best players in recent weeks. He was bought for big occasions like this and will be in from the start in his homeland.

The third starting berth in Liverpool’s midfield is one where Klopp has to make a decision on. Both Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita auditioned by starting the game on Saturday.

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It was Keita who made the greater impression, though. The Guinean scored the only goal of the game and was excellent throughout.

His recent form has been labelled as ‘outstanding’ by Klopp via liverpoolfc.com. That should give him the edge over the captain tonight.

Attack

With Roberto Firmino still injured, Klopp is choosing between four players for three positions.

The only certainty is that Mohamed Salah will start given that he was reduced to a cameo at the weekend. Sadio Mane has been in terrific form of late, and should continue his central role.

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Jurgen will therefore have to make a call over whether he goes with Luis Diaz or Diogo Jota.

Diaz has looked a bigger threat than Jota in recent times. Villarreal will have no option but to attack Liverpool tonight which will leave gaps for Liverpool to exploit. The Colombian is one of the best around on the break and should get the nod for his pace on the counter-attack.

Liverpool’s predicted XI vs Villarreal: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Keita, Thigao; Salah, Mane, Diaz

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