Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will welcome one of his predecessors, Brendan Rodgers, to Anfield on Thursday evening when Leicester City stake their claim for three points. The Africa Cup of Nations’ conclusion looks set to reunite the Reds with their top talent, but Mohamed Salah may not be at his rampant best if Klopp’s comments are anything to go by. Express Sport looks at how they are likely to line up:
Goalkeeper – Alisson
There was another run-out for Caoimhin Kelleher against Cardiff City at the weekend, his seventh appearance of the season.
And while the young Irishman has performed admirably when called in to deputise for Alisson, there is little substitute for the real deal when it comes to the big matches.
On average, the Reds have conceded less than one goal per game in the Premier League this season, and the Brazilian is expected to take back his spot between the sticks when the Foxes come to town on Thursday.
Defence – Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson
Picking two central defenders is about the only dilemma Klopp faces when it comes to his back-line.
Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate were the chosen duo last time out, but Joel Matip is expected to slide back in for the Premier League encounter in question.
Conversely, both full-backs essentially pick themselves with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson still in sparkling form.
Both wide men are assisting at a rate of one every other game – truly pioneering output for a position in which goal contributions used to be a rarity.
Midfield – Thiago, Fabinho, Elliott
Thiago Alcantara has been flirting with a return to first-team action for many weeks, but injuries continued to strike him down.
But Klopp claims that he has a full-fit squad to work with ahead of their Leicester clash, with the exception of Jordan Henderson who could be kept out with a slight back issue.
Harvey Elliott’s sharp FA Cup showing, in which he scored his first goal for Liverpool on his long-awaited comeback form injury, could also be rewarded with a start as Fabinho is expected to make up the midfield trio
Attack – Salah, Jota, Diaz
Diogo Jota’s superb goal-scoring form, which saw him net another trademark header against Cardiff, is likely to see him get the nod up top.
Who flanks him is broadly up for debate with Mohamed Salah back in training, but per Klopp’s admission, he is still visibly disheartened by his recent AFCON final defeat at the hands of Senegal.
Sadio Mane has only just returned from celebrations in his homeland so will not be in contention to feature, but the temptation to pick Salah could be overwhelming, and January signing Luis Diaz could be chosen on the other flank to excite fans even more.
Klopp shared more kind words about the Colombian during Wednesday’s press duties after he made the most of his Cardiff cameo by setting up a goal for Takumi Minamino.