After defeating Manchester United at Old Trafford, Liverpool travel to The Hawthorns to face relegated West Bromwich Albion. If The Reds want to keep their Champions League hopes alive, they will have to leave with all three points. After getting the starting XI and substitutions correct against Manchester United, how will Jurgen Klopp set up against West Brom? We asked the writers at LFC Transfer Room to predict what the XI will look like.
Since there hasn’t been an update on Ozan Kabak’s fitness yet, we’ll most likely see the exact same players that went out against Manchester United playing against West Brom. Despite conceding twice, I feel like Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams had a pretty solid game, so I’ll be looking forward to what they can do against Sam Allardyce’s side.
A key factor in Liverpool’s recent success this season has been the linkup between Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara in midfield. At this point in the season, every game is a must win, and the best way to do so is by playing our two best midfielders together. The only change I can see happening is Curtis Jones coming in for Georginio Wijnaldum. We’ve seen him feature in the last two games and he even managed to bag himself an assist in the latter. Don’t be surprised if you see Wijnaldum get benched for the young Scouser when the lineups come out before the game.
Everyone knows about Sadio Mane’s little disrespectful moment towards Jurgen Klopp after the game at Old Trafford closed. It was clear to see that Mane wasn’t very happy with the fact that he got benched, but despite this, I feel like he will be once again. Our front three against United was bright throughout the entire match, with all three of them getting on the score sheet. Due to this, I simply can’t see any of them being dropped for Sadio in a moment where we must score goals if we want to get into the Champions League.
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Williams, Phillips, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Jota.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Nathaniel Phillips, Rhys Williams, Andy Robertson
Thiago Alcantara, Fabinho, Curtis Jones
Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota
Kostas Tsimikas, Adrian, Sadio Mane, Divock Origi, Georginio Wijnaldum, Xherdan Shaqiri, Neco Williams, Milner/Davies/Ox (if fit. If none fit then kelleher)
With the importance of the next three games, I don't see Jurgen Klopp making any dramatic changes. You can bet your house that the full backs, Mohamed Salah and Fabinho will all start. I believe Thiago and Curtis Jones will start. The two will really give West Brom a headache going forward and I think this is the perfect game for Jones to play in given West Brom's current status and their minds focused on planning for next season in the Championship.
I expect Georginio Wijnaldum to make an appearance late in the game. Despite Sadio Mane being unhappy with the Liverpool manager, I don't see Roberto Firmino or Diogo Jota starting on the bench. Both men scored at Old Trafford and it will certainly give Firmino more confidence going into this game. But unlike the United game, I expect Sadio Mane to play 30 minutes at least at Anfield if all is going smoothly.