30 Apr 2016

Liverpool XI vs. Swansea: 8 changes? 'Brilliant' academy sensation starts? Klopp confirms 'difficult decisions' likely

After Thursday's disappointing 1-0 defeat at Villareal, it's back to Premier League action for Liverpool, and with the Reds currently seventh in the Premier League table, a win is vital to move the club closer to European qualification for next season.

Liverpool can qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League, but that is by no means a foregone conclusion, and if the Reds fail to progress next Thursday, the league will become all-important in the quest for a European place.

Klopp's pre-match updates:

* On resting players: "We have to make a few difficult decisions with the line-up. We need fresh legs and fresh minds at Swansea. That's what we are thinking about".

* On Ings: "He’s a great guy. I have had half an hour with him on the pitch – it was so unlucky I can’t believe. Since then I know much more about him as a person than as a professional football player".

* On defending: "We had different problems solved a lot of them already. Set-pieces were the worst; we needed to improve and we did. Then we conceded a few other goals, so I'm never happy with conceding goals".

* On Swansea: "We have to try everything for Swansea to beat them - that's the only target for this week and nothing else".

In my view, Daniel Sturridge is the big selection issue for this game.

* After missing out on Thursday, Sturridge will surely start against Swansea, and given his recent form, there's no reason to leave him on the bench (the same also applied on Thursday). What happens if he completes the full 90 minutes?

* Given Klopp's 'management' of his playing time, will that mean Sturridge is on the bench again for Europa League second-leg with Villareal?

For me, the solution is simple: Start Sturridge at Swansea, give him 60-70 minutes, and then start him again vs. Villareal.

My preferred lineup:

----------------- Ward
Flanagan --- Skrtel - Lucas ---- Smith
---------- Stewart --- Allen
----- Milner --- Firmino --- Ojo^
--------------- Sturridge

* Flanagan hasn't played in over a month, so he's surely fresh and ready to play.

* Coutinho reportedly came off early against Villareal with an 'illness', so it can't hurt to rest him a little more.

* Lovren has played a lot of football recently, and Lucas is an able deputy.

Predicting a 1-1 draw, Reds legend Mark Lawrenson told the BBC:

"The Europa League is the priority for Liverpool, so I am expecting Klopp to field some of his fringe players. But even if Liverpool are not at full strength, Swansea will have to be much-improved on their showing against Leicester last weekend".

^ Described by Jurgen Klopp as 'really brilliant'

Author: Jaimie K


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