Last weekend, Liverpool were absolutely fantastic in the Merseyside derby and comfortably defeated Everton 3-1. However, Jurgen Klopp’s men once again failed to beat a team from the bottom half of the table and could only earn one points vs Bournemouth at Anfield.
Sadio Mane has been the most important player for Liverpool this season. In his presence, the Reds look like an unbeatable side. On the other hand, in his absence, Liverpool are just mediocre and have not won a single game without the star playmaker.
The Merseysiders have confirmed via their official website that the former Southampton star will likely miss the rest of the season, which is the biggest possible set back for the club, who are looking to finish in the top four and book a spot in next season’s Champions League.
Klopp’s men have to face Stoke City next. They did defeat the Potters 4-1 at Anfield earlier in the season but can they earn all three points away from home that too without Mane?
Apart from Mane, key first team players like Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana are also out injured and the German boss should have a serious selection dilemma for tomorrow’s game.
Here is how we think Liverpool will line up against Stoke City.
Simon Mignolet will likely retain his place in goal ahead of Loris Karius. Ragnar Klavan was arguably the worst player for the Reds in the game against the Cherries.
The Estonian international should be dropped out of the starting lineup and Joel Matip must one cagain partner Dejan Lovren in the central defense. Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner should start in the fullback positions.
In the absence of the skipper, Lucas Leiva has stepped up in the defensive midfield role and he may start once again.
Wijnaldum gifted Bournemouth the opening goal in the midweek and then redeemed himself by setting up Origi’s goal. The Dutch international will likely partner Lucas and Emre Can in the central midfield.
Philippe Coutinho has returned to top form for the Reds. In the absence of Mane, the Brazilian international should be at his best if Liverpool are to qualify for the Champions League.
Coutinho and Firmino will likely start in the attack behind Belgian international Divock Origi.
Prediction: Stoke City 1-2 Liverpool
Image – Getty