Roberto Firmino is likely to be among the changes made by Jurgen Klopp when Liverpool take on Everton in the 284th Merseyside derby on Sunday.
Liverpool will be hoping to return to the top of the Premier League table when take the short trip to Goodison Park to face off against local rivals Everton on Sunday. And, Jurgen Klopp has greeted only good news, ahead of what will be the 200th top-flight Merseyside derby.
Dejan Lovren has returned to training after recovering from a hamstring injury. But, the game has come too soon for the Croat, who should be available for selection next week. Joe Gomez too, has made good progress on his rehabilitation from a long-term leg injury, and is likely to return towards the end of the month.
But, with Gomez and Lovren still not at Klopp’s disposal, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk should line up at the heart of the Liverpool defence once again. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson also ought to keep their places on either side of the central defensive partnership.
The two full-backs will be the creative chiefs for Liverpool, with their dangerous deliveries from the flanks. Behind the defensive line, Alisson Becker should continue in goal for the visitors as well, with the Brazilian set to get his first taste of an away Merseyside derby.
The changes are likely to come into effect in midfield, with Jordan Henderson returning to the side. The Liverpool captain should replace Fabinho as the holding midfielder, with the Brazilian getting a breather. Naby Keita could be back as well, with James Milner making way, meaning the tireless Georginio Wijnaldum keeps his place.
The major cause for concern for Liverpool ahead of the derby against Everton has been Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian forward missed the emphatic win over Watford on Wednesday due to an ankle injury he picked up against Manchester United last week.
But, Klopp provided a positive update on him during his pre-match press conference, as he said, “He was out there in the running [on Thursday] but we have to see how he reacts. He is very positive, that’s Bobby’s nature.”
“We have to see. I don’t see any other player – OK, we have maybe two or three more of them – being even in contention for that game after the little problem he had. It looks really good but if he will be ready for Sunday, I don’t know in this second.”
Judging by Klopp’s comments, chances are Firmino will be fit to face Everton on Sunday. Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are certain starters out wide, with Xherdan Shaqiri being a backup option again.
Mane has been used in a fluid role lately that has seen him play as the striker for large chunks of the game and the Senegalese should reprise the same once again, with Firmino switching places with him during the course of the game.