Liverpool’s predicted XI for tomorrow’s game against Manchester United isn’t an easy one to call.
Pre-season games are notoriously full of faces that will perhaps never be seen playing for their teams again. With injury issues and workload concerns to boot, things can sometimes get weird.
In Liverpool’s case, they are relatively free from injury. Diogo Jota has confirmed that he is unlikely to play, but otherwise The Reds are in good health.
However, some players are four or five days ahead of others in their preparations. Those are the player’s likely to make up the bulk of tomorrow’s XI. With that in mind, here’s who we think Jurgen Klopp will select.
In goal, Klopp is unlikely to go for the recently returning Alisson Becker. Caoimhin Kelleher hasn’t travelled due to injury and therefore it’s fair to assume that, as the most senior goalkeeper, Adrian will get a rare chance.
In-front of him, Liverpool actually have a decent amount of options at centre-back. So many options in fact that one of them may end up playing at right-back. That’s where we think Joe Gomez will start given news of Calvin Ramsay’s injury.
We think that the plentiful central options will be whittled down to Joel Matip and Nat Phillips. Both players have had a week of training and look a decent partnership.
Klopp has much less options at left-back. Given that Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas have both just joined up with the squad, that leaves Klopp with only Luke Chambers as a natural in the position.
The Liverpool manager has insisted that his squad has three players capable of playing in Fabinho’s number 6 role. With Fab green into pre-season, that will be put to the test as James Milner starts in-front of the defence.
Adding a bit of steel and silk either side of him will be Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones. It’s a big season for both in many ways and they could do with getting off to a good start here.
Expect to see Jordan Henderson introduced for Milner as Klopp does one half each with his captain and vice-captain.
Another area where Liverpool are looking slightly short is in attack. Jota is injured, and it would feel a little soon to throw Darwin Nunez straight in.
Roberto Firmino has been training since Monday and could start here. But given his injury issues of last season, we think Klopp will ease him in slowly.
Instead, Fabio Carvalho should be given the chance to show that he can play through the middle for Liverpool. The 19-year-old has hit the ground running so far and was called ‘brilliant’ by teammate Rhys Williams.
Either side of him expect to see Harvey Elliott in a makeshift right-wing position while Luis Diaz starts left, as the only one of the recognised front-three.
That could of course be totally wrong, but that’s what we think Jurgen’s got up his sleeve on Tuesday in Bangkok.
Liverpool’s predicted XI vs Man United: Adrian; Gomez, Matip, Phillips, Chambers; Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones; Elliott, Carvalho, Diaz