Jurgen Klopp could be without as many as four first-team players, when Liverpool welcome Newcastle United to Anfield in their Boxing Day fixture.
Liverpool will have the chance to seal their place on the summit of English football at the turn of the year when they play hosts to Newcastle United at Anfield on Wednesday afternoon. And, with the Magpies being highly inconsistent during the busy festive period, Jurgen Klopp could use the game to rotate some of his key players.
The Liverpool boss has to keep one eye on the game against Arsenal in the coming weekend, and keeping some of his key players fresh will be imperative. At the same time, Klopp will also be focusing on naming a strong enough lineup to secure a positive result as early as possible.
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With that in mind, the likes of Alisson Becker, Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk should start at the back for the Reds, although the selection of the two centre-backs is forced more than anything. Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are still recovering from their respective injuries, with the duo set to be unavailable for at least another month.
The two full-back slots though, should see some rotation, with Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno likely to start on the right and left flanks, respectively. Klopp does have the option of selecting Trent Alexander-Arnold, who is set to be available after returning to training. But, the Englishman might be held back for the Arsenal game.
During his pre-match press conference, the Liverpool boss did provide an update on Alexander-Arnold, as well as Naby Keita, who sustained rib and foot injuries in the 2-0 win over Wolves this past weekend.
“Trent is back in training, in full training. We will see. Nothing new [on Keita] because it is pretty early, [but] nobody said to me so far he cannot train. I expect him back in training.”
Keita though, is unlikely to feature, with Klopp giving him time to shrug off the minor issues completely. The Liverpool boss should also relegate Jordan Henderson and James Milner to the bench, more so to rest them than anything. Georginio Wijnaldum is thus, likely to return, partnering Fabinho in the pivot.
Meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has returned to the training field after eight months, and he now faces a long road back to the pitch. Up ahead in attack, Mohamed Salah could be afforded a breather, with Daniel Sturridge starting as the focal point of the Liverpool attack in the Egyptian’s stead.
Xherdan Shaqiri is almost a certain starter, after staying on the bench through the entirety of the game at the Molineux last Friday. Shaqiri should start on the right side of the Liverpool attack against Newcastle, with Sadio Mane likely to shift to the opposite flank, although Adam Lallana is an alternate option for Klopp. Roberto Firmino though, should continue in his role behind the striker.