Billy Koumetio could be set to make his first-team debut for Liverpool in a much-changed side against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup fourth round.
Liverpool will aim to do a repeat of Monday and last season’s Carabao Cup fourth round tie when they play hosts to Arsenal at Anfield on Thursday night. And, Jurgen Klopp has one fresh injury concern hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Kostas Tsimikas has been struggling with a thigh complaint since last week’s third round meeting with Lincoln City. Apart from the Greek defender, Liverpool are also missing Joel Matip, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain due to various injuries, while Thiago Alcantara is not available after contracting the coronavirus.
During his pre-match press conference, Liverpool assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders provided an update on the injured quartet, confirming that Tsimikas, Matip and Oxlade-Chamberlain will not be available until after the international break, while Henderson could be back this weekend, but that the Arsenal game will have come too soon for him.
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Lijnders was also quizzed about possible rotations and Klopp’s no. 2 hinted towards the same, commenting, “It is really important if you have only two days in between, with out style, freshness is key.”
With that in mind, Liverpool could be set for a revamp, as far as the starting lineup is concerned. In goal, Adrian should come in for Alisson, with a new-look back four protecting him. Virgil van Dijk seems to be a certainty, especially with Joe Gomez’s recent niggles. The Dutchman, though, could have the highly-rated Billy Koumetio as his central defensive partner.
Speaking to the official Liverpool website, Lijnders commented on Koumetio, “Billy has a clear pathway inside our club. He is just at the start of this pathway.” Having shaken off a knock, the teenage prodigy could be given his first-team break by Klopp against Arsenal.
Neco Williams should be deployed on the right side of the Liverpool defence, with James Milner expected to line up on the left flank in the absence of Tsimikas. Up ahead in midfield, Curtis Jones and Marko Grujic will get another chance to impress, with Takumi Minamino reprising the no. 10 role.
In attack, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will be given a breather, much like the rest of the first-choice players except van Dijk. In their stead, Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri and Diogo Jota, fresh off opening his account for Liverpool against Arsenal this week, will complete the attacking unit.
Liverpool Predicted XI: Adrian; Williams, Koumetio, van Dijk, Milner; Jones, Grujic; Shaqiri, Minamino, Jota; Origi