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Liverpool could make nine changes against Southampton as new injury problems emerge



Liverpool are next up against Southampton in the FA Cup with Jurgen Klopp facing some selection posers.

Liverpool produced one of their all-time great final performances with an against-the-odds triumph over Chelsea to win the League Cup on Sunday afternoon.

A goal two minutes from the end of normal time from Virgil van Dijk earned the injury-ravaged Reds a deserved 1-0 triumph at Wembley to claim the trophy for a record 10th time.

Liverpool will now look to continue their quest for a quadruple when they take on Southampton in the FA Cup on Wednesday evening. And here we look ahead to the changes Jurgen Klopp could make when his team are next in action.

Klopp quipped after the Chelsea victory that anyone who could wear a Liverpool shirt had a chance of playing against Southampton. And the injury issues and need to rotate mean the Reds are likely to be extremely short of full strength for the visit of the Championship promotion hopefuls.

Throughout the team, there are difficult calls. One is in goal where, with Alisson Becker out for at least another month, Caoimhin Kelleher is now the first-choice and could be rested for Adrian, who hasn’t featured since the Community Shield at the start of last season.

Van Dijk has played every minute in 14 of the last 16 games and could be due a rest at centre-back, while Ibrahima Konate was unable to last the full duration at Wembley. Jarell Quansah would seem primed to start with Joe Gomez another option. Joel Matip remains out.

Gomez, however, could be required at right-back, with Conor Bradley tiring in the second half at Wembley and Trent Alexander-Arnold among those out until at least after next month’s international break. Liverpool are at least blessed for options at left-back, where Kostas Tsimikas – impressive from the bench at Wembley – could rotate with Andy Robertson.

The sight of both Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch leaving the national stadium on crutches put a slight dampener on the occasion regards the Reds’ hopes of winning more trophies this season. And while the former’s issue isn’t regarded as serious as the latter, neither will be expected to play on Wednesday.

Alexis Mac Allister was exhausted when replaced towards the end of the second half at Wembley, and would be a surprise starter against Southampton. And with Curtis Jones, Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic all out, Liverpool have precious few alternatives in the engine room.

James McConnell, who started as the number six in the FA Cup fourth round win over Norwich City and was excellent when playing further forward from the bench at Wembley, is primed to be the defensive midfielder, while Bobby Clark, also outstanding as substitute on Sunday, could make only a second senior start.

Harvey Elliott or Cody Gakpo may drop into the third midfield role, although Elliott played the full 120 minutes and Gakpo was required up front and was replaced before the end of normal time. Therefore, the return of Dominik Szoboszlai would be timely should the Hungarian prove his fitness after more than three weeks out. The 16-year-old Trey Nyoni was on the bench at Wembley.

Gordon’s alive?

Quite what Klopp does in attack is entirely dependent on the availability of Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez. If, as is perhaps expected, the duo are still out, it leaves the Reds boss with his only senior options as the three who started at Wembley – Gakpo, Elliott and Luis Diaz, who like Elliott featured for the entire game. It seems unlikely all three will continue.

Bradley was pushed into a right-wing role for part of the game against Chelsea, while 18-year-old central striker Jayden Danns has impressed off the bench in the last two games and could start. Kaide Gordon could be another option on the flank, while fellow youngster Lewis Koumas was among the substitutes on Sunday. Ben Doak and Diogo Jota are out, while 17-year-old winger Trent Kone-Doherty has trained with the first team recently.

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