Liverpool have a few injury doubts heading into the game against Manchester United at Old Trafford, but manager Jurgen Klopp is keeping his cards close to his chest.
Midfielder Jordan Henderson and defender Joel Matip missed the Reds’ mid-week clash against Southampton because of a heel and an ankle injury respectively. The pair have returned to training ahead of the big game against United though, but it is still unclear whether they will start for the Reds at Old Trafford.
“They all were in training yesterday, so [we have] to wait on how they reacted to the training yesterday then we have to make decisions,” said Klopp, according to the official club website.
“The last game was only two days ago and so we have to wait for the reaction of those players, too, and then we make a line-up. But of course they are much closer than they were before any other game in the last few weeks, so that’s good.”
One positive update is that Philippe Coutinho is very much in line to start, after recovering from a nasty ankle injury. The Brazilian made his first appearance since November against Southampton in the EFL Cup tie, playing for around half an hour without showing any signs of worry.
Klopp will most likely include Henderson in the starting XI even if he has a minor niggle. The midfielder is very important to the team’s style of play, and they don’t have a back-up who is at a similar level.
The German may not want to risk Matip though, with Ragnar Klavan taking his place alongside Dejan Lovren at the heart of defence. They will be flanked by right-back Nathaniel Clyne and left-back James Milner, while Belgian custodian Simon Mignolet will start in goal.
Henderson will form the base of a midfield pyramid alongside German midfielder Emre Can, with Georginio Wijnaldum playing slightly ahead of them. Coutinho is expected to start in his preferred left-wing position, while his compatriot Roberto Firmino is likely to start in the ‘false 9’ role.
The ever impressive Adam Lallana should start at right-wing to complete the attacking trio. The Englishman will be under a lot of pressure to perform, as he has to make up for the absence of one of Liverpool’s key players this season in Sadio Mane.
Mane is currently with the Senegal national side participating in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON).