Naby Keita forces Jurgen Klopp's hand as Liverpool prepare for defensive change

Naby Keita forces Jurgen Klopp’s hand as Liverpool prepare for defensive change


Liverpool will be looking to book their place in the Champions League final on Tuesday night as they travel to Villarreal, having beaten Newcastle United on Saturday lunchtime.

Jurgen Klopp has made five changes to his side for the trip to St. James’ Park as he continues to manage his side in pursuit of an unprecedented four-fold, with Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Ibrahima Konate. on the bench, as Naby Keita’s lone strike sealed a 1-0 win over the Magpies.

Having failed to get the 12:30 kick-off against Newcastle moved, the Reds will have minimal recovery and preparation time before traveling to Spain, with a rotation again to be expected. And with a number of big guns set to return to Liverpool’s starting XI, we take a look at some of the changes the German could make against the La Liga side.

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Robertson rested?

Klopp checked Kostas Tsimikas’ name when discussing his changes following the Reds’ win over Newcastle, revealing the Greek was unlucky not to start but didn’t want to rotate the two full-backs when he was also making a change at centre-back. As a result, he may be in contention to start this one with Trent Alexander-Arnold almost certain to return at right-back.

However, with Ibrahima Konate seemingly given the nod in European games lately as Liverpool seek to avoid Joel Matip playing three games in a week, given his injury history, the Frenchman could also return to the heart of defense alongside Virgil van Dijk.

Allowed to use five substitutions in European competition, Klopp could instead give Tsimikas an extended second-half cameo if he wanted to let Andy Robertson rest, without making three changes to a starting defense, with plenty of time to spare. recovery before the Reds. home clash with Tottenham on Saturday night.

Return of the midfield duo

Having been limited to substitute appearances against Newcastle, Fabinho and Thiago are all but certain to start against Villarreal, although Klopp was left with tough decisions over who to leave out after an impressive display in midfield at St. James’ Park.

James Milner was man of the match for the Reds while Keita scored the winning goal, with Jordan Henderson also catching the eye as a number six. The Guinean is perhaps the most likely to keep his place, with the Liverpool boss’ rotation of his captain since the March international break set to continue.

As a result, Milner looks set to be back on the bench with Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could return to the matchday squad as Klopp continues to benefit from plenty of strength deep down the middle. ground.

Salah starts

In the least surprising decision, Mohamed Salah will return in attack against Villarreal, while Sadio Mane is expected to keep his place after being taken off after 69 minutes against Newcastle. As a result, with Roberto Firmino injured and Divock Origi suffering from illness recently, this leaves a direct shootout for the last attacking spot.

Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz both started against the Magpies, both completed the full 90 minutes and both were unlucky not to score past Martin Dubravka. The Colombian would be expected to keep his place, given success as part of an attacking trio alongside a Mane and Salah center in recent weeks, with Takumi Minamino left as a reserve.

Possible Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexandre-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson; Keita, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Mané, Diaz.

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