2 May 2016

'They Must Start': Aldo tells Klopp to unleash 'outstanding' £61m Liverpool-duo vs. Villareal

After Sunday's terrible performance at Swansea, Liverpool need to bounce back this Thursday with a victory over Villareal, and ahead of the game, Reds legend John Aldridge has urged Jurgen Klopp to star four of the club's most senior players.

In his column for the Liverpool Echo today, Aldo warned that Liverpool's season will 'drift into nothingness', if the team fails to beat Villareal, and on the subject of team selection, he insisted:

"The back four and goalkeeper is a given. Lucas and Joe Allen^ must start in midfield. Milner and Coutinho^ [also] have to start. Our season rests on what happens on Thursday night".

Is the back four really 'a given'? With Sakho available, the defensive unit picks itself (Mignolet, Sakho, Lovren, Clyne, and Moreno), but without Sakho, it's not so clear-cut.

* The smart money is on Kolo Toure, but Klopp only seems to rely on him where there are no other viable options.

* Martin Skrtel is fit again, and is obviously an option. However, after his recent injury issues, he is short of regular game time, and may need further match-fitness/sharpness.

* Lucas is another option in central defence, and he's played the role with distinction this season.

That said, with Henderson and Can unavailable, Lucas is a better, more experienced option than the likes of Stewart, and Brannagan, and in such a big game, Klopp will almost certainly choose experience over youth.

As usual, Klopp will be desperate to shoehorn his favourite, Adam Lallana, into the starting lineup, and fitting him, Lucas Coutinho, and Firmino, into the same team may necessitate playing Lucas at centre-back:

------------- Mignolet
Clyne ---- Lucas -- Lovren ----- Moreno
--------- Milner -- Allen
Lallana ------ Firmino ----- Coutinho
------------- Sturridge

Of course, if Klopp plays Firmino ahead of Sturridge (unthinkable, surely?), then all bets are off. Personally, I'd rather see the following lineup:

------------- Mignolet
Clyne ---- Toure -- Lovren ----- Moreno
--------- Lucas -- Allen
Milner ------ Firmino ----- Coutinho
------------ Sturridge

Milner is wasted in central-midfield; as his assist-stats show, he's most effective in a more advanced role, where he can create chances, and get decent crosses into the box.

^ Allen: £20m-rated. Coutinho: £41m-rated. Combined total = £61m.

Author: Jaimie K

^ Both Allen and Coutinho hailed as 'outstanding' by Brendan Rodgers.


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