Liverpool will be without defensive mainstay Joel Matip for their second Group E fixture of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League against Red Bull Salzburg.
Reigning European champions Liverpool will be in search of their first win of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League when they host Austrian heavyweights Red Bull Salzburg at Anfield on Wednesday night.
Having begun the defence of their Champions League crown with a disappointing defeat to Napoli last month, Jurgen Klopp and his side will be keen on correcting the course. But, their preparations for the game will have been hampered by the absence of defensive mainstay Joel Matip, who picked up an injury in their last game against Sheffield United.
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Speaking of the Cameroonian centre-half in his pre-match presser, Klopp said, “With Joel, it’s not a big one, but it’s big enough that he’s not available for tomorrow night. We don’t want to [take] any risks and we don’t have to take any risks, and that’s why he will not be involved.”
Matip has been an ever-present figure alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the Liverpool defence this season. But, with him being ruled out of Wednesday’s fixture, Englishman Joe Gomez is expected to get the nod ahead of the experienced Dejan Lovren.
No other changes are expected at the back, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson manning the full-back spots and van Dijk slotting in as the second centre-half. First-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker has returned to training, but the midweek fixture comes too soon for him and hence, Adrian should continue in goal for the Reds against Salzburg.
Klopp has a number of options at his disposal in the midfield department but is unlikely to tinker with the trio that started at the weekend against Sheffield United. That would mean Fabinho slots in as the No. 6, flanked by captain Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum, who scored the only goal in the last game.
Former Red Bull Salzburg star Naby Keita is expected to play some part from the bench, while James Milner, Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are further options the manager can look at if he feels the need to freshen things up in the middle of the park.
Liverpool continue to be without the services of Xherdan Shaqiri in the attacking department. The Switzerland international picked up a calf injury last week and is yet to fully recover. Even if he was fit, Shaqiri would have made it only to the bench, as the attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and former Red Bull Salzburg superstar Sadio Mane pick themselves.
Predicted Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane