Diogo Jota is set to make his 50th appearance for Liverpool when the Reds lock horns with Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Saturday.
Following a midweek win over Villarreal in the UEFA Champions League, Liverpool will shift their focus to the Premier League race when they take on Newcastle United. It is a must-win encounter for the away side as they look to keep up with Manchester City for the title, with just a few matches remaining until the end of the season.
Given the strenuous midweek fixture against Villarreal, Jurgen Klopp would be compelled to make at least a couple of changes. The German, who recently signed a contract extension, is missing out on a few players as well, including Roberto Firmino.
“He will not be ready for tomorrow, Bobby. He didn’t train yet. We have to get further information and find a way to get him back. That’s it pretty much, I think,” Klopp said when asked about the Brazilian’s fitness, in the pre-match press conference.
With Firmino out, the only attacking change in the side could see Diogo Jota replace Luis Diaz. It will be the 50th appearance for the Portuguese international for Liverpool, as he looks to operate down the middle, with additional assistance from the two wingers in Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Moving into midfield, Klopp could introduce one change, with Jordan Henderson potentially making way for Naby Keita. Given the nature of Newcastle’s playing style, the Liverpool boss might opt for the creativity of Keita, although Henderson is more than likely to appear as a substitute.
Keita is set to be accompanied by Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara in the middle of the park, with the former operating as the main number six. Curtis Jones could have been a useful option but he remains a doubt, along with Kostas Tsimikas due to illness. “Kostas was back yesterday, Curtis couldn’t train yesterday,” Klopp said on the duo.
There is a chance Tsimikas could return to the squad, but it will be inconsequential for Klopp, who is likely to persist with largely the same back four that started against Villarreal. Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold will operate as full-backs, offering support to the centre-backs Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk, as they cover Alisson Becker in goal.
Klopp might want to use his options on the bench, though, and it won’t be surprising to see the likes of Ibrahima Konate, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi make appearances from the bench.
Predicted Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Keita, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Jota, Mane