Keeping one eye on yet another massive European night on Thursday, Jurgen Klopp conceded he’ll make considerable changes to the squad that’ll take the field at Swansea.
Liverpool’s young Welsh goalkeeper Danny Ward is expected to start to give Simon Mignolet some much needed rest ahead of a high-octane Europa League semifinal decider. The Welsh international recently made his full debut for the club against AFC Bournemouth and put up an impressive display in a 2-1 away victory for the Reds. The 22-year-old harbours long-term ambitions of being the club’s first-choice in goal and will want to grab opportunities like these to present a strong statement to Jurgen Klopp ahead of a summer where much transfer activity is expected.
Christian Benteke made a return from a knee injury in a cameo appearance during the Reds’ 1-0 loss to Villarreal. The Belgian striker, who had been sidelined for a over a month, is expected to have a role to play up front against Swansea. His arrival comes only a couple of weeks after Liverpool lost Divock Origi for the rest of the season in an injury suffered in the Merseyside Derby.
Daniel Sturridge, who was an unused substitute during the midweek European game, is expected to start so that he can provide some much needed fire-power upfront for Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp lashed out at the afternoon kick-off time for the game saying he wanted more control over his club’s fixture schedule after being left aghast by a Premier League Sunday noon kick-off in between a Europa League semifinal tie.
Liverpool’s game was originally scheduled to be played on Saturday, but put back because of the Merseysiders’ European commitments. Klopp is not impressed by the rearranged time set by BT Sport.
The German in his press conference stated, “I don’t think anyone in this room thinks that after the intensity of games we had we should start 12pm. ”
He further complained, “Sunday – at 12pm – I can’t believe. I am interested to know who makes these decisions. We will play when most English people sit down for lunch.”
He cited that a potential 2 pm or 4 pm kick-off could have afforded his side more rest and he’d be in a position to choose more first team players after their European hang-over. That said, a number of fringe players are expected to get the nod in this fixture with the likes of Kevin Stewart, Sheyi Ojo, Jon Flanagan and Brad Smith expected to start and the likes of Cameron Brannagan and Pedro Chirivella expected to feature as well.
Danny Ings, who had been ruled out for the season due to an ACL injury, made a return to full training with the U-21 squad yesterday. Although a return tomorrow is a premature call, the former Burnley striker can be expected to be match ready towards the end of the season.