Klopp delivers team news for Liverpool's match with Arsenal
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Liverpool are likely to have to make two changes to their starting XI to welcome Arsenal to Anfield tonight (5.30pm) in their first match back after the international break. The Reds have suffered yet more injury woe since their last outing, a 3-2 defeat to West Ham, with several players picking up knocks while representing their countries. Express Sport looks at how Jurgen Klopp may line up against the Gunners with as many as eight players set to be ruled out.
By his standards, Alisson had a bit of a nightmare against West Ham which began as he was bullied – and fairly so – by Michail Antonio for the first goal inside the first five minutes.
The Brazilian failed to punch the ball clear at a corner which he inadvertently put into his own net and was also partly culpable for the second and third goals at the London Stadium, both of which he could have done more to prevent.
Alisson has had a largely brilliant season for Liverpool though and will be eager to prove a point with a more accomplished showing against Arsenal. As the No 1 he naturally starts over Caoimhin Kelleher again despite his disappointing display in the last match.
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Defence: Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas
Trent Alexander-Arnold supplied a hat-trick of assists in England’s 10-0 hammering of minnows San Marino and the right-back also scored a brilliant free-kick at West Ham.
He will start at right-back while the same centre-back partnership that struggled to contain David Moyes’ side, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk, should be given the chance to redeem themselves.
That is despite the temptation of bringing in Ibrahima Konate who has done well when called upon this term. Fellow centre-back Joe Gomez remains out injured however.
Another expected absentee is Andy Robertson with the left-back having felt muscle tightness for Scotland, with Kostas Tsimikas poised to come in.
Robertson’s injury is not serious but Klopp is not expected to risk him given Tsimikas has impressed this term. The Greek has yet to concede a goal while on the pitch this season, a run Liverpool will be hoping to continue given their shaky defensive showing last time out.
Midfield: Fabinho, Thiago, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Liverpool are worst hit by injuries in midfield where Naby Keita, James Milner, Curtis Jones and long-term absentee Harvey Elliott are all unavailable for the visit of Mikel Arteta’s outfit.
Jordan Henderson has joined them on the treatment table and while Klopp declared he is “pretty close” on Friday and that Liverpool will make “a late, late, late, late decision”, it is perhaps more likely the captain starts on the substitutes’ bench.
Fabinho returned late from Brazil duty but should anchor the midfield, hopefully for Klopp to greater effect than he did at West Ham.
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Alongside the Brazilian, Thiago Alcantara will return to the starting eleven for only his third Premier League start of the season.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s performances have been inconsistent this season but the former Arsenal man should complete the midfield trio to avoid Henderson playing when he is not 100 per cent.
Attack: Salah, Jota, Mane
In addition to their seven defensive and midfield injuries, Liverpool are also without Roberto Firmino for several more weeks although he is “doing well” according to Klopp.
The Brazilian’s absence is a blow against Arsenal given he has eight goals and three assists in 13 games against them, making the north Londoners his joint-favourite opponent alongside Watford.
Diogo Jota will start through the middle for the Reds as the Portuguese attacker looks to build on his four-goal haul in the league, all but one of which have come away from Anfield.
Mohamed Salah will hope to continue his Player of the Year form on the right while Sadio Mane is fine to play on the left despite suffering rib bruising for Senegal.
Divock Origi came off for Belgium with a dead leg earlier this week but has trained and should therefore be available as the main attacking option off the bench.
Expected Liverpool XI to face Arsenal in full (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Thiago, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Jota, Mane.
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