Jurgen Klopp will have to bank on young defenders when Liverpool face Atalanta in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
Liverpool will aim to move one step closer towards securing their place in the knockout round of the UEFA Champions League when his side faces Atalanta on Tuesday night.
The last time they played in this competition, a week ago against Midtjylland, the Reds faced a major blow, with Fabinho picking up a knock, adding to Jurgen Klopp’s injury crisis that already sees key defender Virgil van Dijk sidelined with an long-term knee problem.
In addition, Nathaniel Phillips, who appeared and impressed alongside Joe Gomez in the 2-1 win over West Ham United, is ineligible to play in this competition, meaning Klopp will have to rely on another youngster in Rhys Williams at the heart of the four-man backline.
There were a few positive news, however, with Kostas Tsimikas, in particular, travelling with the team to Bergamo. His fitness will be assessed, but Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are more than guaranteed to start, especially given the lack of experience Liverpool have in their backline at the moment.
Much like Tsimikas, Joel Matip and Naby Keita have also travelled with the team. But Klopp will think twice before rushing him back into the starting lineup. And with Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Thiago Alcantara out injured, we are expecting only one change in midfield.
“Naby and Joel trained yesterday with the team, full, Thiago didn’t. So, that’s the situation,” said Klopp, who reported no new injuries from the 2-1 win over West Ham, told in an official statement.
So that one change could mean James Milner will make his way back into the starting lineup, replacing Curtis Jones. The experienced midfielder should partner Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson at the base of Liverpool’s 4-3-3. Their collective experience and pedigree at the highest level of football could be key in providing assistance to a young backline.
Meanwhile, in the attacking department, Klopp is tipped to hand Diogo Jota with a starting opportunity, having notably scored the winner against West Ham on the weekend. The Portuguese should replace Roberto Firmino, which, in turn, could prompt Mohamed Salah to feature in the false nine position.
Jota and Sadio Mane could, therefore, both appear as wide attackers, though Klopp does have other options including Takumi Minamino and Xherdan Shaqiri, who provided that sumptuous through ball that led to Jota’s winner against the Hammers.
Liverpool Predicted XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Williams, Gomez, Robertson; Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Jota, Salah, Mane