Liverpool have been boosted by the return of Sadio Mane, but will be without Jordan Henderson when they take on Crvena Zvezda in the UEFA Champions League.
Champions League football returns to Anfield this week, as Liverpool welcome Serbian SuperLiga leaders Crvena Zvezda for their third Group C encounter on Wednesday night.
Having lost their last Champions League fixture against Napoli, Jurgen Klopp’s men now have three points from two games in the group ahead of the double-header with Crvena Zvezda. And Liverpool cannot afford to slip up against the Serbian outfit, if they are to keep their hopes of going through to the next round alive.
Klopp is likely to make a few tweaks to the team that started in the 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town in the Premier League this past weekend. No change is expected in goal, however, with summer signing Alisson Becker firmly nailing down the spot for himself.
An alteration in the backline could be on the cards for Liverpool, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, who hasn’t started the Reds’ last two league outings, likely to get the nod at right-back, with Joe Gomez moving into the heart of the defence. That would mean Dejan Lovren drops out of the starting XI, while Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson will be retained for the game.
After having returned with an injury during the international break, midfielder Naby Keita is still unavailable for selection for the Merseyside outfit. He is now joined by club captain Jordan Henderson, who picked up an injury against Huddersfield at the weekend, the manager confirmed.
Providing an update on his captain’s condition in his pre-match press conference, Klopp said,”It’s not too good, to be honest. It’s nothing we have to worry too much about, but it’s a hamstring issue so we will have to see. He will not be available for tomorrow for sure, and probably not Cardiff, but hopefully then he can be back.”
With Henderson ruled out, Klopp indicated that summer signing Fabinho, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Tuesday, could be in line for a start in the midfield. “It is his birthday so it would be a nice present [to play]. I didn’t make the starting line-up yet but he has been here a few months now, got used to a few things, and so we will use him,” the manager said.
Klopp also confirmed that midfielders James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum had recovered from minor injury issues and are in contention to start. They are likely to occupy the other two midfield slots for Liverpool in the midweek fixture.
Another big positive for the home team ahead of Wednesday’s game was the return of Senegalese speedster Sadio Mane. The former Southampton man recently underwent a surgery on his hand and missed out of the weekend game against the Terriers, but is now back in training.
“Sadio trained and should be fine,” Klopp revealed on the eve of the game. He is set to return to the starting XI on the left side of Liverpool’s attacking trident, while Mohamed Salah is expected to be retained on the right flank. Roberto Firmino should start through the middle, replacing Daniel Sturridge, who was given the nod for the game against Huddersfield.