6 Aug 2016

Confirmed Team News (Liverpool/Barca): Klopp confirms £112k-a-week star 'will' play; Brazilian 'not available';

Later today, Liverpool face Barcelona (and ex-Red Luis Suarez) in a mouth-watering pre-season clash, and ahead of the game, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that at least two injured players are fit enough to return to action.

In his pre-Barcelona press conference, Klopp told reporters:

“Grujic and Matip are involved again. Marko...has been back since yesterday and is available. Joel has trained for three days so he will be involved. Lucas is not available and Joe [Gomez]."

Matip may be back, but should he walk straight back into the team?

After several impressive performances, Ragnar Klavan arguably deserves to keep his place, and if someone has to make way, it should (IMO) be Lovren.

Klopp also claimed:

"The Barcelona team is [not] the team who will start against Arsenal and the Mainz team can fight for the 12 to 18 positions. It is not like this".

With only two games until the big kick off, surely it makes sense for Klopp to give his preferred first XI at least *one* game together to build up rhythm and rapport. Isn't that what pre-season is for?

My preferred lineup for Barcelona (based on available personnel:

--------------- Mignolet
Clyne ---- Lovren --- Matip --- Klavan
------------ Can ---- Hendo
Mane --------- Wijnaldum ---- Coutinho
-------------- Sturridge

* Klavan has played at left-back for Augsburg, and as a dedicated defender, he's clearly a better option than James Milner. Plus, he's left-footed, so there's balance to the defence.

* Wijnaldum is wasted in a deeper central midfield role. What is the point in spending £25m on a player who distinguished himself with exciting attacking play, and then neutering him by playing him in a more defensive role? It's ridiculous. Just play Wijnaldum in his best position, which (IMO) is the number-10 role (where he excelled for Newcastle).

* Lallana should be nowhere near the first XI, but knowing Klopp, he will probably start the game. In fact, it won't surprise me in the slightest to see him start ahead of Mane.

* Can should be the team's dedicated DM. That's the only role he should play, and if he plays there, Klopp needs to ensure that he stays disciplined.

To be honest, I'm not looking forward to this game. Barcelona are overwhelming favourites, and there's a very real possibility that Liverpool could be embarrassed, especially with Luis Suarez on the prowl.

That said, in a one-off game, anything is possible.


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