In our eagerly awaited first home game of the season and a glimpse of the new monster main stand, full to the brim, in full song and making our 12th man even more powerful. We welcome last seasons suprise package champions, Leicester. After keeping their key attackers in Vardy and Mahrez, there’ll be no prizes for guessing there tactics. Quite often our achilles heel, a deep sitting team with fast counter attacks. A problem we’re hoping to resolve with new arrivals Karius, Matip and Klavan all in contention, which hopefully can add some well needed stability and confidence at the back. Both teams with matching form this season, winning, losing and drawing in the first 3 games and with a win a piece on home turf last season you’d think this is a fairly even game. The dominant display at Tottenham gives me much optimism going into this game, though we only managed a draw it was quite evident who the superior team was on the day. If we perform to the same standard then the chances will flow. As far as problems go this has to be a nice one for Jürgen Klopp, a squad nearing full fitness, who starts?
Lets start with the man between the sticks and with Karius back in training after breaking his hand, an initial 3 weeks ahead of schedule. He would’ve been in for his Premier league debut if it wasn’t for fitness being the deciding factor. The potential Karius has, last thing we should do is rush a injury and even if deemed fit enough I would be surprised to see him on the team sheet. Reports are that Karius is fit, but Mignolet looking the more likely to start. Obliviously Mignolet might have different ideas about who’s Liverpool’s number 1 but the fact that before his injury Karius was willing to miss out playing for the German Olympic football team for the start of Liverpool’s season proves his confidence to start has been reassured by someone. The spine of every great team always starts with a keeper so let’s hope fighting for your place can really push our goalies on to the next level. Mignolet for now.
The right back spot is in no doubt for Nathan Clyne, his spot not really under any threat but still providing the performances to make this a easy decision. I really liked the central pairing of Lovren and Matip at Spurs, there was a good understanding of each other’s positioning and a nice mix of clearing the danger/ playing it out from the back. For me personally I believe these two could have a really strong partnership and have to start against Leicester. Ragnar Klavan although a very strong back up option but can’t see him jumping ahead of Matip/ Lovren in the pecking order. After Sakho had been told to leave Liverpool in order to play first team football, he decided to reject all offers and fight for a place. I don’t expect to see him play soon but he has been submitted into the Premier league squad and if he can keep his head down and train hard, Klopp may have no option but to give Sakho opportunities. On to the well documented left back spot, which many would think is a certainty for James Milner now. Which may well be the case as we haven’t recruited anyone new and haven’t sold Moreno so would be harsh to not include the idea of him starting. Often criticised for bad positioning and reading of the game, but Moreno attacking wise against a team that sits back could be a good option.
Plenty of options to consider, Henderson, Can(injured) Wijnaldum, Lucas, Stewart, Grujic. I’d like to see Henderson in a defensive role and Wijnaldum in the 2 in a 4-2-3-1 set up. It’s been easy to see that we need a defensive midfielder to protect the defence, break down attacks and set off our own counters. Emre Can on his day has such a engine and loves a tackle, though recovering from injury he won’t be 100% and is facing a late fitness test but I would of loved him to start but reports are he won’t be risked at the weekend. Klopp may go with the 4-3-3 tactic and play Henderson, Lallana and Wijnaldum or even Henderson, Grujic/ Stewart and Lallana spear heading the 3? Would love to see a cameo from Grujic late on but depends how the games going really. After really looking the part in pre-season and adding goals at every opportunity, very promising young player.
This is where opinions are often divided but when we’ve got the likes of Coutinho, Firmino, Lallana, Mané it’s bound to be hard considering the strikers we have on top of them. Let’s start with the no brainer, Sadio Mané is an absolute game changer and his form is on fire at the moment. Mané gives us a much more diverse attack, so direct, fast and aggressive. The way he just seems to love being in pursuit of a loose ball or just plain hounding the life out of defenders. On to Coutinho, who possesses that ability to pick the perfect ball out that others don’t see and of course isn’t afraid of having the odd long range effort. Also Coutinho and Firmino have created 6 chances for each other so far, more than any other duo in the Premier league. It’s clear that our Brazilian pair enjoy playing together and have a very good understanding of each other’s game. For me when Firmino’s played in the false 9 role it works well for the gegenpressing and to outwork the opposition, his defending from the front goes unnoticed at times but is so important for our constant pressure way of playing. Another who’s really been at it this season already is Adam Lallana, a perfect example for pressing and has ran more than any other player in the whole league(12.5km). The difference this season is he’s adding that end product we’ve craved from him and looks to be a bit of a favourite under Klopp. Lallana scored the last minute winner in the England game, his first at international level and is improving no end under Klopp. There’s a good argument to start all of these to be fair with the class of strikers we have, they can’t all start?
That is if we actually play a striker? As I’ve said earlier Klopp may wish to use the false 9 approach with Firmino but I think that being at home along with playing a team that may sit back at times we could use a proper frontman. Out of Sturridge, Origi and Ings you think it’s probably a straight choice between Sturridge and Origi and as much as I love Ings I do worry he’ll struggle to get minutes. Though it’s been confirmed by that Ings is in Klopp’s plans and is simply building up his fitness, he’d be a good fit it’s just the calibre of players in the same position. Depth is a nice problem to have I suppose so I hope he gets his chances. Going with the idea that it’s a 4-2-3-1 then who would you play? Sturridge is 100% a class goal scorer and if is now looking to get past the chronic injuries that have so often hampered him and disheartened fans. Give this man chances and he’ll gobble them up, maybe the right sort of game to come into. Leicester will defend in numbers but will definitely have a real go at us therefore hopefully leaving gaps and chances. On the other hand Origi is the sort of hardworking foward that Klopp would seem to prefer and has came on as a substitute ahead of Sturridge. Origi impressed towards the end of last season and carried on where he left off in pre-season, always looking a threat and very clever at holding the ball up or creating space. Of course there is the chance they may both play together, Sturridge has been used as a wide attacking option, though he prefers to be in the middle. Origi and Sturridge up top, wouldn’t moan.
Guessing who might get the nod is one of the most intriguing topics surrounding football, whoever Jürgen Klopp decides to play I truly think he’ll go with a all out attack as he opens the first chapter at the upgraded Anfield.
Heres my selection for Leicester on Saturday:
substitutes: Karius, Origi, Lallana, Wijnaldum, Klavan, Grujic, Moreno.
Not happy with my line up? Please feel free to show me your Liverpool f.c line up on Twitter.
Heres @Anything_LFC’s predicted team:
written by Ben Webb