Wednesday 16 January 2019

How Liverpool could line up against Manchester United at Anfield without Sadio Mane

Firmino and Salah
Firmino and Salah

Mark Critchley

Liverpool have the opportunity to kick-start their stuttering season with a victory over their historic rivals Manchester United at Anfield on Saturday.

Jürgen Klopp was hit with the news that Sadio Mané would be unavailable earlier this week after the winger was suffered a hamstring injury while on international duty with Senegal.

Mané is the only new casualty, with Adam Lallana (calf) and Nathaniel Clyne (knee) long-term absentees.

The should-bes

Simon Mignolet is Klopp’s first-choice Premier League goalkeeper so, barring any late injuries, he is sure to start in goal.

Dejan Lovren has struggled with a back problem of late, to the extent that he has had to take medication before playing, but the on-going issue has not been problematic over the last few days. The Croatian should start alongside Joel Matip in the centre of defence.

At left-back, Alberto Moreno has established himself as Klopp’s first choice.

Klopp was not happy that Jordan Henderson played England’s final qualifying game against Lithuania last week, but the full 90 minutes in Vilnius did not do any damage. Georginio Wijnaldum should also start in the centre of midfield.

With no Sadio Mané to call on after his hamstring injury on international duty with Senegal, Philippe Coutinho could move out of the middle and take up his former position on the left flank of the front three.

Roberto Firmino is in a spot of poor form but should regain his place from Daniel Sturridge as the central striker, with the devastating if wasteful Mohamed Salah playing to his right.

The could-bes

If Coutinho is pushed forward into the front band, then Emre Can is likely to return to the midfield.

Andrew Robertson could contest Moreno for the left-back slot but the closest call comes on the other flank.

Klopp has shown a tendency to rotate the youthful pair of Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Both were unused substitutes in England Under-21s’ 1-0 win over their Andorran counterparts on Tuesday night.

Liverpool’s predicted XI to play Manchester United: Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Can; Salah, Firmino, Coutinho.

Independent News Service

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