Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip are in line to make their long-awaited returns when Liverpool take on Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup fourth round.
Liverpool will be aiming to reach the FA Cup fifth round for the first time in five years when they lock horns with Shrewsbury Town at Montgomery Waters Meadow in a fourth round tie on Sunday evening. And, Jurgen Klopp is set to ring in the changes for his side’s latest fixture.
Klopp has used games in domestic cup competitions as an opportunity to hand crucial minutes to fringe players as well as those making their returns from injury, while also aiming to blood in youngsters. The same should be the case when Liverpool make the trip to take on Shrewsbury.
During his pre-match press conference, Klopp was asked to comment on his team selection and the Liverpool manager iterated that he will send in “fresh legs” out against Shrewsbury while also confirming a starter.
“It is easy to say, Adrian will stay in goal if he can. So far [all good] and nothing different. We will have a team with fresh legs. We have players who came back from injury, so it makes sense to play them because they are pretty good and we want to go through. Now we are qualified for the round we want to go through and we know it’s a tough place to go, how it always is in cup competitions.”
As confirmed by Klopp, Adrian will take his place in goal, with Caoimhin Kelleher being his deputy. The defence will have an entirely new look, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold all being rested. Klopp talked about giving an opportunity to those coming back from injury and two such players are Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip.
Lovren and Matip will partner up at the heart of the Liverpool defence, with both players looking to stake claim for more regular inclusion in bigger games. Out wide, academy prospects Neco Williams and Yasser Larouci will form the full-back pairing.
Another player who will be aching to make a long-awaited return to the starting lineup is Fabinho. However, with the Premier League game against West Ham United coming up in a few days, the Brazilian could be preserved. For Naby Keita, a start might not be possible and he may be named on the bench.
As a result, the midfield trio that dominated Everton in the fourth round should start again. Adam Lallana will sit at the base of the three-man unit, with Pedro Chirivella providing defensive support. The forward thrust will come from Curtis Jones, who scored the only goal against Everton in the previous round.
Up ahead in attack, it will be a chance to impress for Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi, with Sadio Mane out with a hamstring injury and the opportunity to start against West Ham in the offing. The three-pronged attack will be completed by another youngster, Harvey Elliott, who has impressed in the limited chances afforded so far this term.
Predicted Liverpool XI: Adrian; Williams, Lovren, Matip, Larouci; Chirivella, Lallana, Jones; Elliott, Minamino, Origi