6 Aug 2016

Confirmed Teams: Last-gasp injury blow; massive surprise as Klopp dumps 'brilliant' £27m star

Liverpool face Barcelona this evening a prestige pre-season friendly, and despite naming a mostly predictable lineup (Lallana makes the XI, for example), there's are still a couple of surprise Reds boss Jurgen Klopp's starting lineup.

FULL TEAM: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Milner, Wijnaldum, Can, Lallana, Mane, Coutinho, Firmino.

SUBS: Manninger, Henderson, Grujic, Moreno, Brannagan, Origi, Ings, Matip, Stewart, Wisdom, Markovic, Randall, Alexander-Arnold.

BARCA: Ter Stegen, Sergio, Denis, Arda, Suárez, Messi, Cámara, Mascherano, Munir, Vidal, Mathieu

* Daniel Sturridge isn't in the starting XI, or the match-day squad, which is obviously a huge concern, and as per usual, the reason is frustratingly predictable: He's injured.

* According to the official LFC website: "Daniel Sturridge has been left out of today's squad as a precaution due to a slight hip issue.

* As I (and many fans) continue to argue, it's a giant mistake to go into the new season without another top-class striker in the ranks. Firmino, Origi, and Ings are not going to cut it. No chance.

* Speaking of Origi, the idea that he'd become Liverpool's number one striker at the expense of Sturridge has been shot down in flames today with Firmino clearly favoured by Klopp.

* Benteke is not in the squad, which is another nail in the Belgian's Anfield coffin.

* Henderson - recently hailed by Klopp as 'brilliant' - is also on the bench, which is a surprise since he's the club captain. It'll be interesting to see who captains the club in his absence. Going forward, perhaps this signifies an imminent captaincy change? My money is on Lovren.

* It looks like Wijnaldum will be wasted in a deeper central midfield role yet again. Bravo, Jurgen. You're neutering the guy before he's even had a chance to get going. With Milner also out of position at left-back, there are shades of Brendan Rodgers here. Probable formation:

-------------- Mignolet
Clyne ---- Lovren -- Klavan ---- Milner
----------- Can ----- Wijnaldum
Lallana ----- Coutinho ----- Mane
------------- Firmino

This still looks less than inspiring.

* Henderson: £27m-rated.


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