13 Jan 2016

Liverpool XI vs. Arsenal: Debut for 'fantastic' star? 'Spectacular' powerhouse returns? Klopp confirms 'good news' on injuries

With 7 wins in the last 8 games, Arsenal are in formidable form at the moment, and their results are in stark contrast to Liverpool's ongoing struggle to achieve consistency. After the 2-0 setback against West Ham, the Reds need to get back to winning ways, but is the current skeleton team capable of beating the current league leaders?

Jurgen Klopp's pre-match updates:

* On central defenders: “I think Kolo will be available. Mama wants to be available, so hopefully we can use him. Martin Skrtel is still a few weeks away, and while Dejan feels good it is my decision"

* On Ibe, Milner, and Hendo: “For Jordon Ibe, and Hendo, we have good news. James Milner is still in training, so that's all good news.”

Liverpool's squad has been bolstered this week with the arrivals of Danny Ward and Steven Caulker, and it's highly likely that both will feature in the match-day squad.

The question is, will any of the youngsters who played against Exeter be rewarded with a place on the bench? In my view, Smith, Teixeira, Brannagan, and Ojo are all deserving of inclusion, with Smith arguably deserving of a starting berth.

Probable lineup:

---------------- Mignolet
Clyne ----- Caulker -- Sakho ---- Moreno
------- Milner --- Can --- Allen
----------- Ibe ----- Lallana
--------------- Firmino

* Allen put in a man-of-the-match performance against Stoke City, and he deserves to keep his place.

* In my view, even if Lovren and 'spectacular' Sakho are fit, 'fantastic' Caulker should go straight into the team.

* My personal preference (for this game) is for a Toure/Caulker partnership, but if Sakho is fit, then Klopp will almost certainly play him (even thought that backfired against Watford, when the manager rushed Sakho back after an injury).

* On the subject of Caulker: given the club's regular defensive issues, he will be under intense pressure to perform, and hopefully he will rise to the occasion. Unfortunately, if he makes a costly mistake on his debut, elements of the fanbase will crucify him, and argue that he's not good enough etc.


You have until Wednesday 8PM (GMT) to make your predictions.

* 20 Points: First goalscorer.

* 20 Points: First Liverpool player to head the ball.

* 30 Points: Collective number of tackles won (LFC)

* 50 Point Triple-Whammy: Perfect score + First goalscorer + header (Possible points total: 120)

* The Dr. Jed Hill Mega-Bonus: 100 points for Perfect score + First goalscorer + header + tackles (Possible points total: 200)

Good luck!

My prediction: 2-2. Giroud first scorer. Sakho header. 14 tackles.

Author: Jaimie K


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