15 Jan 2016

Liverpool XI vs. Man Utd: Triple injury boost. Two Anfield debuts? Surprise start for Smith?

After a creditable, hard-fought draw against Arsenal, Liverpool face Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday, and as most fans will almost certainly agree, it's unthinkable to even contemplate a home defeat to Louis Van Gaal's turgid team, which is arguably the worst (and most boring) United team since the 1980s (the glorious heyday of United failure).

Klopp's pre-match updates:

* Henderson, Milner and Toure are all available for selection.

* Sakho came through the Arsenal game okay, but when asked about his fitness today, Klopp's faltering response suggested that he's not 100% convinced the Frenchman will make it for Sunday.

* Sturridge and Lovren are definitely out of the game.

Liverpool conceded three goals against Arsenal, which is hardly ideal preparation for Sunday, and in my view, Caulker should replace Sakho against Man United.

Defensively, Toure had a superior game (the match stats support this), though like Sakho, playing him twice in four days is probably not a good idea.

A few other points:

* Benteke should stay on the bench. Firmino grabbed two goals against Arsenal, and played well for much of the game, so there's no real need to change things up-front.

* Allen clearly deserves to start. His recent form is good, and he's having a demonstrable influence on Liverpool's results.

* Lallana needs to be benched. I say it every game, but despite failing to score a league goal since December 2013 (and providing only 3 assists in close to 50 hours of football), Klopp will continue to show blind faith in him.

* Emre Can tired badly against Arsenal, and in the final 20 minutes, he repeatedly gave the ball away and/or got caught in possession. Bar Clyne, he's played more minutes than any other LFC player, so maybe it's time for a rest.

* Mignolet made more costly mistakes against Arsenal, so why not bring in Danny Ward, who has kept 12 clean sheets this season for Aberdeen. The quality difference in the SPL is irrelevant (IMO); when it comes to the crunch, saving a shot, is saving a shot, irrespective of who makes the shot.

My preferred lineup:

------------------ Ward
Clyne ----- Caulker - Toure --- Smith
-------- Hendo --- Lucas --- Allen
---------- Milner ---- Teixeira/Ibe
---------------- Firmino


You have until Sunday 14:05pm (GMT) to participate.

* 20 Points: First goalscorer.

* 20 Points: First Liverpool player to be subbed OFF.

* 30 Points: Collective number of shots off-target (LFC)

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

* The Detective Nick Conklin Mega-Bonus: 100 points for Perfect score + First goalscorer + sub + shots off target (Possible points total: 200)

Interrogation? This is how it's done ;-)

Good luck!

My Prediction: 2-2. Martial first goalscorer. Firmino first sub. 12 Shots.

Author: Jaimie K


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