James Milner and Naby Keita are likely to start while Ibrahima Konate will be in line for his debut when Liverpool take on Norwich City on Saturday.
Liverpool will aim to begin their 2021/22 Premier League campaign on a strong note when they lock horns with Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday evening. And Jurgen Klopp has a fair few players missing out in his side’s season-opening fixture.
Andrew Robertson is one of the two certain absentees due to a short-term ankle injury while Curtis Jones is unavailable due to a concussion. In addition, Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson are unlikely to feature from the get-go, seeing as they have only been with the first-team group for a week or so. Klopp confirmed the same during his pre-match press conference as well.
The Liverpool boss said, “They are all here, all our players are here in the moment and that means we have to make selections. Of course, Hendo and Thiago started late to train so their pre-season, if you want, started last week and they need it because we don’t prepare for one game, we prepare for a full season with a lot of games in the most intense league in the world.”
“Apart from that, all the others trained at least two weeks. And some of them trained five weeks. So I have exactly the situation I want to have. I hope it stays like this, that so far we have no major injuries – apart from Robbo obviously, who is not available for the weekend. And Curtis, but he is fit again, it’s just a protocol and we will of course respect that. That’s it, that’s now the situation, a good situation but still I have to make some decisions.”
Klopp also confirmed that all four of his senior centre-backs are at his disposal, giving him a healthy selection dilemma. Ibrahima Konate is indeed up for his competitive debut for Liverpool, and the summer signing could be put in the deep end, lining up alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the defence.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is a certainty in the right-back slot, with Kostas Tsimikas set to get a rare chance to impress on the opposite flank following an impressive pre-season campaign. In goal, there is no looking past Alisson Becker.
Up ahead in midfield, it is unlikely that Henderson and Thiago will get a start, judging by Klopp’s comments. The same cannot be said of Fabinho, though, with the Brazilian international sitting at the base of the midfield. Alex Oxalde-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and James Milner are competing for the remaining two slots, with the Ox set to miss out on Saturday.
Indeed, Milner amassed the most number of minutes in the pre-season and ought to be sharp enough to feature from the get-go. Finally, in attack, Diogo Jota might be the unlikely one of the quartet to be named on the bench, with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, who impressed during pre-season, starting against Norwich.
Predicted Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, van Dijk, Tsimikas; Milner, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane