Stick with 4-3-3, Lovren recalled? Predicted Liverpool side to face Manchester United
It has been a good week for Liverpool so far; they went top of the Premier League before maintaining their momentum by sealing Champions League progression with a 1-0 win over Napoli on Tuesday.
Now they are preparing to resume their historic rivalry with Manchester United, and the Reds will never get a better opportunity to pile on the misery.
The contrast between the two sides is staggering; Liverpool are vibrant, confident and unified, while Jose Mourinho’s side stumbles from one abject performance to the next.
Jurgen Klopp’s unbeaten side are 16 points ahead of Sunday’s visitors with an outstanding opportunity to make it 19, which would only serve to ramp up the excitement around the club right now.
Here, we’ve predicted the side the German will choose to put the sword into Mourinho and United at Anfield…
Goalkeeper and Defence
Fresh from the save that preserved his side’s Champions League hopes, Alisson will again be between the sticks, but in front of him, Klopp is struggling for options.
Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are both ruled out, so Virgil van Dijk will expect to be partnered by Dejan Lovren. The 29-year-old will be joined in defence by Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, provided the latter recovers from a foot injury sustained in midweek.
Liverpool have toyed with 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 systems at times this season, but generally revert back to 4-3-3 for the bigger games, and Mourinho’s criticism of Klopp’s double pivot in last season’s 0-0 draw may influence the German’s thinking also.
Jordan Henderson was exceptional on Tuesday night and deserves to keep his place. Klopp generally finds a place for Gigi Wijnaldum, so the biggest question mark is over who rounds off the midfield trio.
Naby Keita or Fabinho could step in to offer energy but James Milner relishes playing United – having turned out for their three biggest rivals, Manchester City, Leeds United and Liverpool – and will hope to continue.
Sadio Mane’s finishing rightly came under scrutiny on Tuesday night, but it would be a major surprise if Klopp dropped him on the back of that.
Mo Salah was shackled impressively by Ashley Young last season, so there may be a temptation to relocate him to centre-forward for this one, but he is most likely to appear on the right of a 4-3-3 with Roberto Firmino completing the front three.