Fabinho is set to retain his place as the centre-back while Thiago comes in to screen the defence when Liverpool host Sheffield United on Saturday.
Liverpool will hope to consolidate their place inside the top four when they take on Sheffield United at Anfield on Saturday evening. And, Jurgen Klopp has greeted a mix of good and bad news ahead of his side’s latest fixture, while the big talking point remains the injury sustained by Virgil van Dijk.
The likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kostas Tsimikas join van Dijk on the sidelines, but the good news is that Thiago Alcantara, Alisson and Joel Matip have stepped up their rehabilitation, and are in contention to start this game. Klopp addressed their involvement during his pre-match press conference, saying that it will depend on Friday’s training session and a late fitness test.
“Look, in my situation, I don’t want to rule anybody out until someone tells me and so far, nobody told me. Maybe I should have listened better! But for me, everybody apart from the three I mentioned are in contention until somebody tells me different.”
Big one tonight 🚫👀 pic.twitter.com/4P522YEgKn
— Fabinho (@_fabinhotavares) October 21, 2020
The uncertainty looming over Matip’s availability means Fabinho will retain his spot in the starting lineup after a massive performance against Ajax in midweek, partnering Joe Gomez in the heart of the defence in the back-four deployed by Klopp.
Adrian is the obvious choice in goal with Alisson still doubtful for the game; the Liverpool manager will want to take his chances with Adrian instead of rushing his no. 1 on the pitch early. No question over the full-back pairing, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson retaining their spots on the right and left sides, respectively.
Up ahead in midfield, the big question has been whether Thiago would return to the lineup after making his only start for Liverpool against Everton. Klopp addressed the questions surrounding Thiago’s availability during his presser, saying, “We will see who is out there. You can only be in contention if you are in training.”
Considering he featured extensively in the holding midfield role for Bayern Munich before sealing the move to Liverpool, it is likely that the Spaniard will be thrown into the deep end of the midfield triumvirate. Partnering him in the middle of the park should be Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita.
Finally, in the attack, the first-choice trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane should reunite. Firmino will lead the line while Salah and Mane take up wide positions on the right and left flanks, respective, as the two wingers.
Liverpool Predicted XI: Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Thiago, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane