In spite of a shaky start in Amsterdam, Liverpool passed the Ajax test on Wednesday night to qualify for the knockouts of the Champions League. But they must find some momentum in the Premier League, particularly after a dreadful defeat against bottom-placed Nottingham Forest at the City ground. The Reds will host Leeds United on Saturday evening who are also struggling under Jesse Marsch with four successive defeats.
The Whites, currently 18th in the standings, must find motivation from Forest’s victory. However, the gaffer should tweak his strategy and opt for a defensive gameplan to frustrate the Merseysiders at Anfield. A win, on the other hand, would see Liverpool climbing up the league ladder and getting closer to the ‘top four’ before locking horns with Tottenham Hotspur next weekend.
Predicted 4-4-2 Liverpool Lineup To Face Leeds United
Despite suffering a few disappointing defeats, Alisson Becker has been exquisite between the sticks. He is one of the finest keepers of world football and the Reds are blessed to have someone of his stature in their starting XI.
Right fullback Trent Alexander-Arnold has been heavily criticized of late for his frailties in the defensive third. But he remains irreplaceable, thanks to his attacking expertise and set-piece attributes. Although Joel Matip continues to be sidelined with a calf injury, the return of Ibrahima Konate is a massive boost for the hosts. The Frenchman should be lined up alongside Virgil van Dijk replacing Joe Gomez in the heart of the backline, and so should be Andrew Robertson, who is expected to feature from the left ahead of Kostas Tsimikas.
Fabinho, a shadow of his normal self, must deliver from the base of Jurgen Klopp’s midfield diamond. A freak ear infection ruled Thiago Alcantara out against Forest and Ajax, but the Spaniard is likely to make it to the weekend’s matchday squad. His return would allow Jordan Henderson more time to recover from a minor knock picked up versus the Dutch giants.
Young Harvey Elliott suffered an ankle fracture-dislocation when these two outfits met at Anfield early into the previous campaign. The teenager handled it expertly post-surgery and eventually cemented a regular role in a star-studded Liverpool side. The new 4-4-2 setup suits Roberto Firmino’s game who is now operating from the tip of the diamond. Naby Keita and Arthur Melo are unavailable with long-term injury woes.
The absence of attacking pair Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz is a huge blow for Liverpool. Nevertheless, both Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah are exhibiting their scoring traits while spearheading the attack.