Jurgen Klopp is set to use Liverpool’s FA Cup third round tie with Plymouth Argyle as a chance to rest first-team players where possible, meaning a youthful Reds team will feature.
The Reds kick-off a big week of action with their first FA Cup clash of the campaign as Plymouth arrive on Merseyside.
Klopp’s men emerged from a gruelling Christmas period unbeaten, and the German will want his side to translate their strong form to the cup stage to secure smooth progress into round four at the first attempt.
Sunday’s game comes a year to the day that Klopp’s changes resulted in the second youngest starting XI in Liverpool’s history being fielded at Exeter, and a similarly rotated but not as youthful lineup could feature at Anfield
- Klopp to rest first-teamers after festive schedule exhaustion
- Reds boss to introduce youth alongside handful of senior Reds
- James Milner won’t be risked, Jordan Henderson ruled out, and Daniel Sturridge likely to be left out
- Philippe Coutinho and Joel Matip “in a good way” but not yet available
- Joe Gomez to play for first time in 16 months for maiden appearance under Klopp
- Loris Karius to start in goal
- Lucas, Alberto Moreno and Trent Alexander-Arnold set to enter defence
- Kevin Stewart and Ovie Ejaria in line for midfield roles but Marko Grujic to miss out
- Sheyi Ojo likely to feature in attack
- Ben Woodburn could be handed first start
- Certain senior players could feature with squad lacking depth in attack
Liverpool’s XI vs. The Pilgrims
Klopp has admitted “we will see a few fresh legs on the pitch” as he preserves first-teamers for two big games that follow, but an exciting XI could start.
It is likely that Alexander-Arnold, Lucas and Moreno will enter alongside the fit-again centre-back to form a changed but strong back-four.
Klopp’s immediate midfield alternatives are restricted, and this could see Can take a starting role in a combative and technical trio alongside Stewart and Ejaria.
Alternatives are similarly limited in attack, but one exciting offensive lineup could see Ojo make his first appearance of the season, and Woodburn his full debut while playing in support of Origi.
Here’s how that Reds XI would look:
However, for a pressurised occasion against determined opponents, Klopp may feel slightly more experience is beneficial – especially in attack.
Keeping with Karius and the same back four to give Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovrenand Ragnar Klavan a break, Klopp could introduce Wijnaldum and Lallana to his midfield and attack.
The Dutchman will retain an element of freshness over Can, having been substituted early in last week’s Sunderland draw, which could see him as the preferred choice alongside Stewart and Ejaria.
Meanwhile in attack, starting 17-year-old Woodburn could be a step too far at this stage, and Klopp may deem it best to utilise him in a more comfortable situation.
With that in mind, Klopp could start Adam Lallana for that extra cutting edge as he looks for a professional performance, deploying the England international with Ojo and Origi.
This would be the Reds XI at Anfield:
Sunday’s game will be far from a straightforward procession for Klopp’s young Reds, and a professional display will be required to seal smooth progress to the round four.