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Liverpool vs RB Leipzig: Predicted XI

Liverpool return to the Puskás Aréna on Wednesday for their season-defining second leg against RB Leipzig, with a place in the Champions League quarter-finals on the line.

This season has proved to be both unique and challenging on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Since the turn of the new year, The Reds' league form has been underwhelming and an FA Cup campaign has ended prematurely once again.

Despite this, the Reds’ standards have not yet dropped in Europe after topping their Champions League group. Moreover, they also hold a 2-0 lead from the first leg of their knockout tie against Julian Nagelsmann’s tricky RB Leipzig outfit.

Considering Liverpool’s slim chances of securing a top four finish, Wednesday’s second leg holds added importance if they want Champions League football next season. 

Ahead of the game, we asked the LFCTR writers how they think Liverpool should line up on Wednesday.

Matthew Woods

Fabinho back in midfield

Klopp looks to rejuvenate his midfield once more. Moving Fabinho back to his normal position after a second half substitution against Fulham, I expect Fabinho to remain in his preferred role. That is, barring injuries to another centre-back.

Ozan Kabak returns to the starting lineup next to Nat Phillips, while Naby Keita gets a second consecutive start after a positive showing in his return to the team.

Up front, Mané moves to the right side of a front three as Diogo Jota gets another start on the left. Mohamed Salah slides into the number nine spot as he looks to get back in the scoring column.

This lineup gives Klopp the opportunity to change formations rather seamlessly depending on how the opposition come out the gates. Jones and Wijnaldum are also left on the bench in another surprising lineup from Klopp.

Predicted XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson; Thiago, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Jota, Mané 


Dann Izquierdo

Kabak to start alongside Phillips in defence

The main concern at the backline for Liverpool is the centre-back pairing. One of the spots will surely be taken by Nat Phillips, as he has given nothing but solid performances when called upon. 

The other centre-back spot could be a hard one to predict. Fabinho is Klopp’s preferred choice when fit despite being moved from his favoured midfield position. 

But this time Klopp will opt for Ozan Kabak as he’s now fully fit after being involved in full training. 

Midfield is where Klopp will go with somethingLiverpool supporters have been waiting for: a three of Fabinho, Naby Keita, and Thiago Alcantara. 

Fabinho should finally return to the defensive midfielder position. 

The Guinean is finally back at full strength and showed against Fulham why he should be one of the first names on the team sheet. 

It is also fair to say that he will be desperate to start against his former side to prove that he’s transformed into a better and stronger player since leaving. 

Thiago Alcantara should be considered a formality for this game. The Spanish maestro shows his quality in every game and his ability to find spaces to open up the play will benefit the Reds massively against the German side. 

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He is the perfect man for this game, considering his familiarity of playing against Leipzig during his years at Bayern Munich.

The front three picks itself. Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah, and Diogo Jota all look likely to start, especially with Firmino's absence with a knee injury.

Predicted XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Phillips, Robertson; Thiago, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Jota, Mané


Jadine Leecocke

Mané returns to the frontline

With the Champions League looking like the last chance of silverware for Liverpool this season, the Reds need to go all out and play their strongest XI possible. After Jurgen Klopp rested key players at the weekend against Fulham, it seems that this is inevitable.

Ozan Kabak’s return to training appears to show that he has overcome the knock he picked up against Chelsea. Therefore, he should come straight back into the starting XI with Nat Phillips playing alongside him; the pair were impressive in the first leg.

In the Reds' previous match against Fulham, Fabinho came off the bench and finally got to play in his natural position: the 'number six' role. 

He was calm, controlled and should finally start in the defensive midfield position. By playing this deeper role in midfield he can help out Kabak and Phillips and allow Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold to push up the pitch. 

Furthermore, he will enable the other two midfielders, who I think will be Naby Keita and Thiago, to get further forward.

Roberto Firmino was absent from training so this surely means he is ruled out for the game, leading me to predict a front three of Sadio Mané, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah. 

Predicted XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson; Thiago, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Jota, Mané


Will Morley

Wijnaldum to start ahead of Keita

Liverpool's sobering defeat to league struggler's Fulham on Sunday further showed their current vulnerability. 

Jurgen Klopp made seven changes for that game, many of whom I expect to return to action on Wednesday. 

Ozan Kabak was unavailable at the weekend, after sustaining a knock against Chelsea. If he is back to full fitness, he should start against Leipzig - a familiar side from his time in Germany. 

Klopp may opt for Nathaniel Phillips to partner him in order to deal with Leipzig's towering forwards. 

Fabinho made a welcomed return to the midfield on Sunday, albeit from the bench. I think Klopp will start him alongside Georginio Wijnaldum and Thiago in midfield, all of whom have ample experience of big European nights.

Roberto Firmino was absent from training on Tuesday, casting doubt over his availability. I expect Sadio Mané to return, alongside Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota up front. I expect Klopp will play the latter through the middle, following his recent return from injury.

Predicted XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson; Thiago, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Jota, Mané