A comeback win against Spurs on Sunday evening depicted Liverpool’s grit, determination and superiority in the Premier League standings. The Reds are desperately chasing the English crown after missing it out by a whisker last season and therefore, expected to field an experimental squad on Wednesday night in their Football League Cup Round of 16 contest against Arsenal.
The Gunners failed to defend a two-goal lead at the Emirates and went on to concede twice against Crystal Palace. The turmoil in North London is a worrying sign, and the test at Anfield would be sterner considering their dismal away form. They have already been beaten by the Merseysiders a couple of months back, and Unai Emery would be desperate to turn things around by knocking Liverpool out of the competition.
Jurgen Klopp is likely to rest his key individuals considering their weekend contest against Aston Villa. An ankle strain late in the game against Tottenham Hotspur forced Mohamed Salah to leave the pitch and make way for Joe Gomez. The Egyptian remains a significant doubt for the midweek tie whereas Joel Matip is expected to be sidelined with a recurring knee injury that ruled him out for the past couple of fixtures.
Xherdan Shaqiri, still recovering from a calf injury, continues to be sidelined for the Cup outing. A dead leg against Spurs should see Virgil van Dijk earning a much-deserved rest versus the Gunners. Nathaniel Clyne, meanwhile, remains the only long-term absentee after rupturing his ACL during pre-season.
Klopp has tweaked the set-up at times based on the demand and momentum of the match but should stick to his trademark 4-3-3 irrespective of the changes he is going to make in the starting lineup.
Liverpool Predicted Lineup Vs Arsenal
Adrian, despite playing stupendously in Alisson Becker’s absence, has found his place among the substitutes following the Brazilian’s return in the aftermath of the most recent international break. But the Spaniard should be recalled for the Arsenal game as a reward to his excellence early in the campaign.
The gaffer must make a couple of changes to his ‘back four’ and line up Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren as the centre-back pairing. Versatile James Milner should feature as a left-back replacing Andrew Robertson. However, in-form Trent Alexander-Arnold should retain his place on the right and threaten the Gunners with his crosses, cut insides and link-up football.
The trio of Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum and skipper Jordan Henderson should be rested this midweek. Adam Lallana has been tried out as a ‘number 6’ versus MK Dons in the previous round. He should be accompanied by Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with the latter expected to start against his former employers having netted a stunning brace last week away at Genk.
The front three of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino might make way for Divock Origi, Rhian Brewster and Harvey Elliott. Brewster, rated highly for his poaching instincts, failed to impress against the Dons, unlike Elliott, as the 16-year-old made a stunning debut while operating from the wide areas.