31 Oct 2015

Confirmed Liverpool-XI: Surprise up-front; £10m star dumped. Forced to train alone; Klopp punishment?

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has sprung a few surprises for today's Premier League clash with Chelsea, the biggest of which is that it looks like Roberto Firmino will be playing as a lone striker.

FULL TEAM: Mignolet, Clyne, Skrtel, Sakho, Moreno, Lucas, Can, Milner, Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino

SUBS: Bogdan, Lovren, Benteke, Allen, Ibe, Teixeira, Randall

CHELSEA: Begovic; Zouma, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Mikel, Ramires; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Diego Costa.

SUBS: Amelia, Baba, Matic, Fabregas, Kenedy, Falcao, Remy.

* On Friday, Christian Benteke confirmed that he's 'fit' to start the game. He told Liverpool FC website: "I’m good. I just felt something during the game against Southampton last week. Now it’s behind me and I’m looking forward to the Chelsea game".

* Klopp has (perhaps wisely) erred on the side of caution and left him on the bench. Given the striker's proneness to injury, it's an understandable decision. Under Rodgers, Liverpool were guilty of rushing players back from injury on a regular basis, so it's good to see that policy changing.

* Origi is not even in the matchday squad, which almost certainly means he's been dropped. Given his lack of impact this season, it makes sense, but according to the Liverpool Echo: "Origi hasn't travelled. Klopp told him he felt it would be more beneficial for him to train at Melwood than watch from the sidelines".

* In my view, that seem pretty harsh, and doesn't seem to be good man-management. Drop the player, yes, but isolating him from the squad, and forcing him to train alone on matchday? That seems unduly harsh to me.

* Firmino played as a striker ten times for Hoffenheim, so it's not his natural position, and playing him there is a bit of a Rodgers-esque move. However, I'd rather see Firmino there than Origi, and the Brazilian is almost certainly likely to have more of an influence on the game.

* The rest of the team is pretty predictable. Can returns, and misfiring attacking midfielders Lallana and Coutinho are also back in the starting line-up. Both need to step up today and make some kind of impact on the game, especially Lallana, who has contributed a paltry ONE assist in the last 38 hours of football.

* Good to see Teixeira, Randall, and Ibe on the bench, but in my view, Ibe and Teixeira both deserve to start ahead of Lallana.

Probable formation:

------------- Mignolet
Clyne --- Skrtel -- Sakho ----- Moreno
---- Milner -- Lucas --- Can
------- Coutinho -- Lallana
-------------- Firmino


Please do not post any predictions here. If you want to update previous predictions, you must *edit* your original post on the pre-match thread.

Author: Jaimie K


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