Liverpool will host Fulham in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield this evening, and Jurgen Klopp could be forced to make some significant changes to his starting eleven.
The Reds continue their pursuit of dominance on all fronts with a clash on home turf against Fulham under the lights tonight, and there is no doubt that the hosts will be favourites to come out of the other side victorious.
Liverpool currently lead in the Premier League table at the top of the tree, have successfully qualified for the Europa League knock-out stages, and are now through to the FA Cup fourth round after knocking out Arsenal at the weekend.
This will be the Merseyside giants’ last fixture before their winter break kicks off, and they won’t play again until January 21st when they head to Bournemouth for their Premier League return, which will be a huge relief to Jurgen Klopp with injuries piling up.
Mohamed Salah and Wataru Endo are away on international duty for at least the rest of January, while several injury issues have started to creep in for key players.
Assistant coach Pep Lijnders held the pre-match press conference yesterday, revealing an important injury and fitness update:
“First of all, some not-that-good news, Trent hyperextended his knee during the last game.
“So he has a little tear in the lateral ligament of his knee and he will need time to recover. He had a scan and he will be out for a few weeks, so let’s see after that.
“He will get some rest and then hopefully he can come back to where he was. Because this guy was decisive in all the games and was the one who created constantly for us from deep and gave the team a high level of flexibility. We will really miss him.
“Virgil is back. He did some runs yesterday on the pitch and looked good again. So he will be back in the squad; he recovered well. So it really helped him not to travel to London.”
This means Trent Alexander-Arnold joins Dominik Szoboszlai, Kostas Tsimikas, Andrew Robertson, Joel Matip, Thaigo Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic on the injury table and will be unavailable for selection for the clash with Fulham tonight.
How will Liverpool line up against Fulham?
We predict that the Liverpool boss will make five changes to the starting eleven he led out at the Emirates on Sunday, maintaining his classic 4-3-3 formation.
In the defensive set up we expect to see our first three changes with club captain Virgil van Dijk returning to the left side of the centre-back partnership alongside Ibrahima Konate who retains his role tonight.
With Alexander-Arnold injured and Joe Gomez covering Tsimikas and Robertson on the left side, a rare opportunity for Conor Bradley to impress Klopp will likely come as he is the only player available and experienced enough to cover the right-back role.
We predict that Alisson Becker will be given extended rest after a world-class performance against the Gunners and will be replaced by Caoimhin Kelleher who has covered all of the Carabao Cup clashes so far in goal.
With Endo away on international duty the defensive midfield role is short on options, so we expect to see Ryan Gravenberch selected for the important role in front of the back line, completing a midfield trio of Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones too.
In the attacking threat, Diogo Jota should have done enough at the Emirates to secure a spot in the starting eleven alongside Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo, with the Portuguese goal machine covering for Salah on the right wing, while Nunez occupies the left side and Gakpo leads the line through the middle.