Liverpool are set to miss their defensive lynchpins once again as they welcome cross-city rivals Everton in the iconic Merseyside derby this weekend.
Liverpool take on Everton on Saturday, hoping to capitalise from their midweek win over RB Leipzig, in their bid to return to winning ways in the Premier League.
Jurgen Klopp’s desire to ring in the changes in light of the congested fixture list will be dispelled by the importance of the Merseyside derby, combined with his team’s miseries in the Premier League this season.
As such, the German tactician should retain most of his star players that featured against Leipzig, starting from Alisson in goal. The Brazilian international is hoping to reinstate his authority in between the sticks, following a few clumsy performances.
Unfortunately, Klopp will have to make do without Fabinho once again, confirming his absence in the pre-match press conference. He has also confirmed the absence of James Milner and Diogo Jota, though all of them are nearing their recovery to full fitness.
“Fab was not in training, all the others not as well. Nothing new. They all get closer – Fab gets closer, Millie gets closer and Diogo gets closer, but not close enough for the weekend,” said Klopp.
As a result, Liverpool will once again rely on their latest recruit Ozan Kabak at centre-back alongside Jordan Henderson. The duo performed reasonably well against Leipzig, meaning fellow newbie Ben Davies may have to wait a bit longer for his chance.
Elsewhere in defence, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are guaranteed starters as full-backs, as they use their offensive prowess to run rings around the Everton defence this weekend, although the latter is likely to remain deep, hoping to aid the patchwork central defensive unit.
In midfield, Curtis Jones could be in for another start alongside Thiago and Gini Wijnaldum, in light of the absence of Milner while Naby Keita remains doubtful.
“Naby could have been in the squad against Leipzig, but it didn’t make sense because he’d only trained two days with the team. So, we said stay at home, train two days of proper training sessions, but unfortunately, Naby got ill a little bit and couldn’t train these two days. Yesterday we reintegrated him again,” said Klopp when asked about the midfielder’s fitness.
“Is he able to play a few minutes on Saturday? I don’t know,” the German added, which means the midfield unit is likely to remain unchanged, just as the attacking unit as Liverpool continue to rely heavily on the offensive trifecta of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi are available as alternatives, should Klopp look to ring in the changes in either attack or midfield.
Liverpool Predicted XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Henderson, Robertson; Jones, Thiago, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane