Chelsea v Liverpool: The Emirates FA Cup Final


Three Liverpool players may have just played their way into Klopp's Champions League final plans - RTK View

Three players may have just forced their way into Liverpool’s Champions League final plans. Jurgen Klopp boasts a deep squad for this.

Liverpool’s starting XI for the Champions League final isn’t actually very hard to predict – injuries permitting. We had a go at predicting it here and stick by it (though now we look again, Ibrahima Konaté and Virgil van Dijk are the wrong way round).

But winning the final won’t simply be a first-XI job. Thankfully, Liverpool boast a very strong squad right now and Jurgen Klopp can call on various substitutes in the game to shake things up.

Which brings us to Tuesday. Klopp played a second-string side at St Mary’s as Liverpool beat Southampton. Not only did he get three points out of the game but he also got to look at fringe players. Some of those players truly shone and as a result, could now have bigger parts to play once the Champions League final comes around.

Here are three such players we think Klopp could turn to.

Liverpool’s Champions League final plans

James Milner

We’ll start with the most obvious one. James Milner was magnificent against Southampton and will almost certainly have a part to play in Paris. He’s Klopp’s utility man from the bench, capable of slotting into any game and deliver consistency.

We imagine Klopp will turn to Milner at some stage in the game, whether it to help control a lead or bring energy to midfield. Either way, his performance on Tuesday showed what incredible value he can bring to Liverpool

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Kostas Tsimikas

There’s every chance that Andy Robertson plays the full 90 minutes against Real Madrid – but he doesn’t have to. Kostas Tsimikas has been so good as a backup that Liverpool can actually afford for the Scot to run himself into the ground.

That’s a luxury in such a final and we saw it in the FA Cup final at Wembley. Again, Tsimikas shone against Southampton, too. He created four chances, completed a brilliant 93% of his passes and won three tackles.

He’s unquestionably ready to play his part in Paris.

Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino has been the forgotten man out of Liverpool’s forwards this season. Injuries and brilliant form from others has forced that – but the Brazilian has actually been fantastic.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Firmino averages a goal or assist every 98 minutes across the Premier League and Champions League this season. On top of that, he brings a level of control to games that no other forward can match.

He showed it against Southampton as he picked up 77 touches. Compare that to Diogo Jota’s 36 in seven more minutes. Firmino remains the best option for Liverpool to link their forwards with midfield and Klopp will surely turn to him against Real Madrid.

All stats per Whoscored.

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