After the Manchester derby last weekend, the Premier League will provide its dose of weekly entertainment this starting from Friday this time as Jürgen Klopp takes his side to the scene of his first ever victory in England as a manager. Antonio Conte, who dropped his first points this season last weekend at the Liberty Stadium, will be wary of the threat the fluid attack of Liverpool can possess and will need to set up his team in such a way that they can neutralise it and get the better of the visitors.
This game is more than a clash between two masterminds, it is a clash between two ideologies and two different approaches to the game and this has left the fans of both clubs with some glaring questions ahead of the tie. With less than a 6 hours left for the game, here are 3 burning questions that are doing the rounds among Liverpool fans tonight.
Sturridge or Coutinho?
A question that would have looked unlikely 3 months ago is now the biggest headache for Jürgen Klopp ahead of the game against Chelsea. The manager used a front three of Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane to great effect in the recent win over Leicester while Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum were also decent in the midfield area. However, with Liverpool’s best player back fit for this game, Klopp now has to drop one of the 5 to accommodate the Brazil magician who is hard to leave out of the squad.
Firmino, Mane and Lallana are in great form and impossible to leave out while Wijnaldum provides the balance in the midfield that is hard to ask from any of the other 5. This leaves Sturridge as the only option for Klopp to leave out of this game and though Klopp prefers to use a striker-less, false 9 system away from home, it will be hard to leave Liverpool’s best finisher out of the game. A headache indeed.
Can Klopp’s armory break the Italian bus?
Though it is a home game, the former Italian boss will be wary of the threat of their opponents on the night and will set his team up to defend and frustrate the visitors on Friday. The likes of Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Willian have all been excellent this season and can hurt Liverpool on the counter but this game will be won and lost in the battle between Liverpool’s attack and Chelsea’s defense, the strengths of their respective managers.
Klopp’s side have been poor in the past against teams that deploy a similar strategy and will have to be at their best to get anything from their game. A victory in the game will break Conte’s unbeaten record early this season and it is not an easy feat to achieve for the Reds.
How long before Simon Mignolet will cost Liverpool some points?
One of the first transfer business by the Liverpool manager this summer was acquiring Loris Karius for a meager fee to replace Simon Mignolet as first choice in the Liverpool goal. The Belgian has been the most error-prone keeper in the league for two years now and Liverpool fans have still not been able to see a change in goal with the summer buy picking up a serious injury in a pre-season game.
However, Karius is now back fit and ready to go and the mid-week game against Derby County seems to be the best time to get him back leaving Mignolet with one more chance to impress the manager. To be fair, Mignolet has been excellent this season making a number of saves and commanding his box but there is an impending fear in fans that he is not too far away from a mistake. He is more than a decent keeper to have on the bench but his presence in the middle in one of the biggest games of the season will give the fans plenty of nervy moments on Friday.