Neil Mellor sees three remaining battles for places in Liverpool’s starting XI vs Man City on Saturday. The Reds will want their best.
The bulk of Liverpool’s pre-season is now out of the way and the big one is next – Manchester City in the Community Shield. No, it’s not the most serious game of the season but it is an opportunity to lay down a marker.
This wouldn’t just be a piece of silverware, after all, and a but over City to kick off the campaign. It doesn’t really get better than that as far as starts go.
Jurgen Klopp, then, will want his best available XI for this one. But who makes that right now? Ex-Red Neil Mellor believes all but three spots are set.
“[Ibrahima] Konaté or [Joel]Matip, Nunez or Bobby [Firmino], Adrian or Alisson,” he told LFCTV. “Pretty much the rest we could guess, couldn’t we?”
Liverpool’s starting XI vs Man City
We’d go along with this. Konaté and Matip promise to battle it out this season for the right to be Virgil van Dijk’s consistent partner and it starts here. The Frenchman will likely end things with the role but Matip won’t give it up easily.
Similarly, Nunez and Firmino will be a big one. This isn’t just a case of ‘who’s better’ but also how Klopp wants the team to play. If he’s after more control, Firmino is the man. If he wants an aggressive threat against City’s defenders, it’ll be Nunez.
As for Adrian or Alisson, that’s purely a fitness concern. The latter has been out with an injury and he’s not been featuring in friendlies. We imagine Klopp will start the Brazilian if he’s at all fit, though.
We also think that Klopp essentially ‘gave away’ his plans with certain decisions against RB Salzburg on Wednesday. It should be a strong team – and he could possibly still throw in some surprises.