Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be pushing for a start when Liverpool lock horns with Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Wednesday.
Liverpool are hoping to extend their lead at the top to five points when they face Newcastle United later this evening. It is going to be a must-win encounter for the defending champions, knowing a defeat could potentially enable Manchester United to overtake them in the league table soon, with the Red Devils having a game in hand.
Unfortunately, Jurgen Klopp is dealing with the absence of several players heading into this game. Joel Matip, in particular, suffered an adductor injury in the draw with West Bromwich Albion on the weekend while Naby Keita also faced a new setback. Both are, thus, ruled out for this fixture, joining Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Kostas Tsimikas on the sidelines.
It could give Klopp quite a dilemma in regards to his team selection in the defensive department this week. Rhys Williams was the player who replaced Matip against West Brom, so he remains a favourite to start alongside Fabinho at the heart of the Liverpool defence, ahead of Nat Phillips.
There should not be any changes elsewhere, though, as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson look to bounce back to form while Alisson Becker could once again play a critical role in between the sticks.
One player who was a doubt heading into this game is Thiago Alcantara. The midfielder has made positive strides in regards to his recovery, as confirmed by Klopp during the pre-match press conference. However, the Liverpool manager has also hinted that the Spaniard might not feature in this game.
“He needs a few sessions, he was really out for a long time after a really harsh challenge – that was a proper impact. Nothing ruptured, nothing broken, but that still took time obviously and it still takes time. We cannot rush that, we will not do. So I don’t know,” said the German.
Thiago and Keita’s absence in midfield means Curtis Jones, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are set to compete for the additional midfield slot alongside Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum.
In a game where Liverpool will have to breach Newcastle United’s low defensive line, they do need some creativity in the middle of the park. Hence, Oxlade-Chamberlain might receive a rare starting opportunity, as he looks to provide the creative support to the Liverpool front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah on Wednesday evening.
Liverpool Predicted XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Williams, Fabinho, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane