Liverpool face Leeds United in the Premier League at Elland Road and Jurgen Klopp looks set to omit several players from his squad.
Liverpool makes the trip to Leeds United tonight aiming for a first Premier League win in five matches.
The Reds have a battle on their hands in their final nine games of the campaign if they’re to qualify for Europe next season. Sitting in an underwhelming eighth place, most have written off the chances of Liverpool qualifying for the Champions League as they’re 12 points behind fourth-placed Newcastle.
Yet Jurgen Klopp’s side even has a stiff challenge to book a berth in the Europa League, with Tottenham, Brighton, and Aston Villa all currently above them in the table.
Still, Liverpool can be buoyed by their second-half performance in a 2-2 draw against leaders Arsenal in their last fixture. Having been two goals down before the half-hour mark, the Reds fought back superbly and were unlucky not to have gone on and won the game.
For the clash against relegation-threatened Leeds at Elland Road, Klopp’s set to be handed a huge boost as Luis Diaz is set to return to the squad for the first time in six months. Liverpool has been patient with the winger when it comes to his recovery from a serious knee injury but Klopp confirmed Diaz should be on the bench.
However, because of a relatively healthy injury situation, with Thiago Alcantara making his comeback from a hip injury against Arsenal, Klopp will have to leave out some senior players.
There is some concern over goalkeeper Alisson Becker and center-back Ibrahima Konate. Both missed a couple of days of training last week but Klopp didn’t sound overly concerned at his pre-match press conference. Alisson was due to train individually on Friday while Konate was set to be involved in the full group.
Stefan Bajcetic and Calvin Ramsay will both be missing through injury. Bajcetic’s absence has been a blow having established himself in Liverpool’s midfield during a breakthrough season before suffering an adductor problem.
Meanwhile, Naby Keita has been absent since returning from the international break with Guinea because of a muscle issue. The midfielder was not spotted in training last week and may be unavailable again.
Should Alisson and Konate come through then Klopp will have to omit a further five members of his squad.
Against Arsenal, it was hardly a surprise that Nat Phillips, Alex Oxalde-Chamberlain, Arthur Melo, and Fabio Carvalho were not involved. All have been peripheral figures throughout the campaign. In truth, only the latter may be at Anfield next season.
But with the return of Diaz to the squad, it’ll mean that Klopp has to leave another player out of his set-up. Assessing the options, the likely option may be Joel Matip. The center-back has dropped down the pecking order this season and with a win required, Liverpool may want to pack their bench with attackers.
Should the Reds stick with Matip then Harvey Elliott was surplus to requirements in the 0-0 draw at Chelsea two matches ago and could not be involved. Meanwhile, Curtis Jones has started the past two games but has also been left out of squads in the past.
Possible Liverpool squad vs Leeds
Goalkeepers: Alisson, Kelleher.
Defenders: Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Konate, Robertson, Tsimikas,
Midfielders: Henderson, Milner, Fabinho, Thiago, Jones, Elliott.
Forwards: Salah, Nunez, Gakpo, Jota, Firmino, Diaz.