Liverpool predicted teams and line-ups for the Premier League clash with Leicester City this evening.
Paul Gorst: Jurgen Klopp is able to welcome back Ibrahima Konate for this one after his exploits for France at the World Cup. I thought Joel Matip was good against Aston Villa, particularly in the second half, but I’m recalling Konate immediately.
The les Bleus international has barely played this season and needs some momentum behind him, so tonight feels like the ideal opportunity to get him back into the team alongside Virgil van Dijk.
Liverpool still have their fair share of injury issues, though, so it will be interesting to see what Klopp does further forward in his midfield. No Curtis Jones, James Milner, or Arthur Melo means more will be demanded of those who are fit in the coming days, so I’m going to rest Jordan Henderson for this one and recall Naby Keita alongside Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara. Henderson and Harvey Elliott can rest up if they are needed.
Up top, the options are even more stretched. Roberto Firmino is still injured and Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota, of course, are absent with their own issues. It’s a shame Cody Gakpo is not currently eligible to play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gets another chance to impress down the left.
My team: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Keita, Thiago; Salah, Nunez, Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Ian Doyle: Anfield welcomes back football after almost seven weeks away this evening.
But will Jurgen Klopp choose to welcome back Ibrahima Konate for the Premier League clash against Leicester City?
I would. The centre-back did very well in the World Cup for France and he can slot in alongside Virgil van Dijk after Joel Matip had a tough time at Aston Villa.
Everyone else in the defence remains the same, which means Alisson Becker in goal, Andy Robertson at left-back and Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back.
Midfield, as is usually the case, sees a change. Jordan Henderson is still recovering from a cold, so Harvey Elliott can provide some fresh legs. Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara continue.
And up front, there’s no real sense in changing things just yet. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain tired second half at Villa but can continue from the start on the left, with Mohamed Salah on the right and box office Darwin Nunez down the middle.
My team (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Elliott, Thiago; Salah, Nunez, Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Keifer Macdonald: Despite the excitement of Cody Gakpo’s arrival from PSV Eindhoven earlier this week, there won’t be too many changes from Monday’s 3-1 victory over Aston Villa.
It should be more of the same at the back with all of Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Andy Robertson keeping their places.
Ibrahima Konate is perhaps the only possible change, with Jurgen Klopp confirming on Thursday that he is available for selection following his return from Qatar. However, it appears more likely that the Frenchman will make his return to the starting XI in West London on Monday as Liverpool visit Brentford, with Matip not expected to be risked for three Premier League matches in seven days.
Jordan Henderson keeps his place in the middle of the park after his impressive display at Villa Park, which was perhaps his best of the season for the Reds. He starts alongside Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara, in what is without a doubt still Klopp’s strongest, and most trusted, midfield trio on paper.
With Roberto Firmino not yet recovered from a calf injury, Darwin Nunez leads the line in the hope of adding to his nine strikes for the Reds so far this term. Either side of him is Mohamed Salah on the right, and perhaps the Liverpool manager’s biggest dilemma comes on the left, with either Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Fabio Carvalho available.
The former Arsenal man appears to have leapfrogged Carvalho in the standings with a string of promising performances recently and that, I would expect, will continue at Anfield on Friday evening as Oxlade-Chamberlain looks to catch the eye of potential suitors with just months remaining on his current Liverpool contract.
My team (4-3-3): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Nunez, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Richard Garnett: Liverpool will want to finish off 2022 on a high against Leicester City at Anfield, not least because they are in desperate need of the points to ensure that the likes of Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United can be caught.
But despite a pretty awful start to the season, the Reds have now won their last three Premier League matches and have a great opportunity to build on that platform tonight.
With Alisson Becker in goal, I’m sticking with the same back-four that got a result at Aston Villa on Boxing Day. Ibrahima Konate is back in the frame and is obviously a serious contender for a starting berth, but I’m a great believer in continuity so he will have to bide his time. Serves him right for being so good with France.
It’s difficult to tinker with a midfield that is as experienced as the one that started at Villa park, but with games coming thick and fast I’m going to afford captain Jordan Henderson a wee rest and bring in the young legs of Harvey Elliott. Fabinho and Thiago keep their places.
Up top, Jurgen Klopp currently has less flexibility, with Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota both out and new man Cody Gakpo not yet signed on. This game comes too soon for Bobby Firmino so I’m sticking with the front three of Mohamad Salah, Darwin Nunex and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the latter still capable of playing an important role for the Reds in the second half of the season.
Liverpool need goals tonight so hopefully Nunez has changed the batteries in his radar and is ready to add a finishing product to his otherwise excellent play.
My team (4-3-3): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Elliott, Fabinho, Thiago, Salah, Nunez, Oxlade-Chamberlain