18 Mar 2017

Confirmed Team News: £60m Liverpool duo 'not' playing; late injury blow; shock start for 'amazing' academy star?

Liverpool face Manchester City on Sunday, and ahead of the game, here is the confirmed team news so far.

* Klopp on Henderson/Sturridge: "Who will not be involved? Hendo, but I said already last week he had no chance. Daniel Sturridge, no chance".

* On Firmino: "Roberto didn’t train with the team so far, but should be involved today or tomorrow, so could be an option".

* On Origi: "Divock was off yesterday because he felt a little bit. Probably not serious but we have to be sensitive. We'll see if he can be involved today or tomorrow, but it’s not 100 per cent".

* On Lovren: "Dejan played on Monday night and he is fit.”

As for City:

* Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan remain out with long-term injury issues.

* Guardiola on Kompany: "He’s been injured for a while and it would be a risk to put him in if he might get injured again. I would like a little bit more time with him, but we’re happy with his progress".

Lovren may be 'fit', but after six weeks out, he's unlikely to be fully match fit, and that will be vital in what is sure to be an intense physical game.

In the worst case scenario, Liverpool will be without Hendo, Sturridge, Firmino, Lovren and Origi, and as the Academy-heavy bench against Burnley proved, the Reds have very little experienced cover.

The big question is, who plays upfront if Origi and Firmino are out? In that scenario, I can all but guarantee that Klopp will play Mane or Coutinho out of position as a so-called 'false 9', but what he should do (IMO) is just take the plunge and play Ben Woodburn, or Toni Gomes up-front.

Yes, they're inexperienced, and it's a gamble but at least they're dedicated strikers, and they'll never develop unless they're given the opportunity to prove themselves in the most pressurised games. Sometimes, it's worth gambling; just ask Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler. Possible lineups without Origi and Firmino:

-------------- Mignolet
Clyne ----- Matip - Klavan ------ Milner
----- Lallana -- Can -- Wijnaldum
--- Mane ---- Woodburn -- Coutinho


-------------- Mignolet
Clyne ----- Matip - Klavan ------ Milner
----- Lallana -- Can -- Wijnaldum
--- Mane ---- Coutinho -- Wilson

Klopp's probable lineup without Origi/Firmino:

-------------- Mignolet
Clyne ----- Matip - Lovren ------ Milner
----- Can ----- Lucas -- Wijnaldum
--- Mane ---- Coutinho -- Lallana

Irrespective of the team, after Arsenal's capitulation at West Brom today, Liverpool now have a massive huge chance to consolidate a place in the top four. Beat City, and the Reds will be 8 points ahead of Arsenal, and given their current form, that's probably an insurmountable barrier.

* Sturridge/Hendo: £60m combined value CIES Football Observatory). Woodburn: Hailed: by Ian Rush as 'absolutely amazing'


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