How could Liverpool line up against Manchester City in Premier League clash at the Etihad?

How could Jürgen Klopp's side line up at the Etihad?

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Saturday 09 September 2017 07:45
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Liverpool travel to Manchester City for Saturday’s lunchtime Premier League kick-off looking to improve on a start which has seen them take seven points from a possible nine.

Jürgen Klopp tasted victory at Etihad shortly after his appointment at Anfield, beating Manuel Pellegrini’s old side 4-1.

Klopp has enjoyed playing them in the years since too, with only defeat on penalties in the 2016 League Cup final blemishing his record against City.

How will the German’s side line up on Saturday lunchtime?

The should-bes

Simon Mignolet should start between the sticks, despite the surprise selection of Loris Karius for the win over Arsenal.

Mingolet’s omission from the teamsheet raised eyebrows all over Merseyside, but Klopp later promised that the Belgian would return against Manchester City. Karius is expected to be Liverpool’s ‘cup’ ‘keeper this year.

Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren should continue in the centre of defence, with the latter showing signs of steady improvement after a shaky start to the season.

In midfield, Klopp has little reason to break up the triumvirate that were so impressive against Arsenal. Jordan Henderson is assured of his place at the base of the three, while Georginio Wijnaldum and the in-form Emre Can are expected to be deployed in front of him.

Liverpool’s attack does not need touching. Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah could have a field day at the Etihad with the amount of space that City concede in behind, while Roberto Firmino has started brilliantly and is integral to everything that Klopp’s attack does.

The maybes

The biggest questions come in the full-back positions, with both the left and right flanks up for grabs. Alberto Moreno did enough to retain his place last time out and though Andy Robertson is knocking on the door, he may have to wait to get his chance when Burnley visit Anfield next weekend.

James Milner is always an option and scored from the penalty spot at the Etihad last season, but Klopp has seemed reluctant to deploy him at left-back so far this term.

On the other flank, Joe Gomez stepped in for Trent Alexander-Arnold against Arsenal and was excellent, crossing well for Firmino’s opener and starting the rapid counter that led to Mané’s strike. With Nathaniel Clyne sidelined for a ‘significant period’, the two youngsters are set to contest the right-back berth for the next few months at least.

Much attention will be on a player who is likely to start the day on the bench. A fortnight after suffering defeat at Anfield, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could make his full Liverpool debut following a £35m deadline day move from Arsenal, though any minutes are likely to come as a substitute.

Philippe Coutinho will not be involved, however. After the will-he-won’t-he of weeks past, the playmaker still needs time on training pitch before he can appear in a Liverpool shirt again.

The Independent’s Liverpool XI to play Manchester City (4-3-3): Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mané, Firmino.

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