9 Mar 2016

Liverpool XI vs. M.Utd: 'Amazing' attacker returns? Big surprise as Klopp drops 'sublime' Brazilian?

On Thursday, Liverpool face Manchester United in European competition for this first time in the club's history, and after three good Premier League wins a row, the Reds are building consistency at a crucial time in the season. Louis Van Gaal's pedestrian team have already done the league double over Liverpool this season, but with any luck, Jurgen Klopp's team will come good this time, and pull the chain on the Mancs' flagging season.

As I see it, Klopp has two big decisions to make:

* Sturridge vs. Benteke: Sturridge has sat out the last two games, but should he return against United? In my view, it's a no-brainer if he's fit, especially since he's had ample recovery time since the League Cup final. Benteke got a confidence boost with his match-winning penalty at the weekend, but if it's a choice between the two, it has to be 'amazing' Sturridge.

* Firmino vs. Lallana: John Aldridge argued this week that Coutinho should start the game ahead of either Firmino or Lallana, but quite why he'd drop Firmino - the Reds' most in-form attacker - is anyone guess. If someone has to make way, it should clearly be Lallana, who is nowhere near as consistent or prolific as the 'sublime' Brazilian.

The rest of the team picks itself:

* Flanagan is not in the Europa League squad, so Moreno and Clyne will almost certainly start the game.

* Skrtel is not match-fit, and after a good defensive performance against Crystal Palace, Klopp will probably stick with Lovren and Sakho.

* Hendo is the captain, so he'll start. Milner is on fire (creatively) right now, and Can is Klopp favourite, so he'll start ahead of Lucas and Allen.

Lallana is another Klopp favourite, and although it seems like madness, I have a sneaking suspicion that one of either Firmino or Coutinho will be benched to accommodate him.

One thing's for sure: if Sturridge doesn't start (arguably) the biggest game of the season, then the only conclusion is that he's carrying an injury. Klopp's probable team:

---------------- Mignolet
Clyne ---- Lovren --- Sakho ---- Moreno
------- Hendo --- Can ---- Milner
---------- Lallana - Firmino
-------------- Sturridge


You have until Thursday 8PM (GMT) to participate. As it's an historic occasion, the points are doubled again:

* 40 Points: First goalscorer (either team)

* 40 Points: Liverpool player with the most backward passes (%).

* 60 Points: Collective LFC tackles.

* 150 Point Triple-Whammy: Goalscorer + backward passes + tackles

* The Randall P. McMurphy Mega-Bonus: 200 points. Perfect score + backward passes + tackles + goalscorer.

Author: Jaimie K


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