Liverpool play host to Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-final first-leg on Wednesday night. The Reds have remained unbeaten through their European campaign, but a tough test awaits them, despite being the only side to have beaten the Citizens in the Premier League this term.
Jurgen Klopp confirmed in a press-conference that Adam Lallana and Joel Matip are ruled out with hamstring and thigh issues respectively, and this sees the Reds without five first-team players. Joe Gomez, Ragnar Klavan and Ben Woodburn are the other players sidelined. Emre Can, on the other hand, is a major doubt for the encounter and he is likely to have a late fitness test on his back problem.
Loris Karius has established himself as the first-choice goalkeeper ahead of Simon Mignolet, and Klopp is expected to stick with him between the sticks.
In defence, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are strong candidates to start in the right and left-back positions respectively, and the former has a huge test on his hands against Leroy Sane, having previously struggled to cope with the pace of Wilfried Zaha and Marcus Rashford. Likewise, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk have been the preferred picks in the central defensive department, but with the former sidelined, Dejan Lovren is an automatic choice to slot alongside the Reds’ record signing.
Onto the midfield, skipper Jordan Henderson should occupy the holding midfield role, where he will be tasked with gaining the control of the ball ahead of David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne. Ahead of him, Klopp could go with the experienced James Milner and we are anticipating him to partner Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who stood out in the previous meeting between the sides. The ‘Ox’ bagged the man-of-the-match accolade with a goal and an assist in the 4-3 triumph over the Citizens.
Further forward, Klopp is unlikely to make any changes, and this should witness Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane featuring either side of Roberto Firmino, who has been the undisputed choice to lead the line. The Reds’ attacking trident contribute a goal each during the City triumph earlier this year, and it will be interesting to see how the City defence can cope with the pace and trickery of a frontline, which has bagged over 75 goals across all competitions.
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