Liverpool’s starting XI could be set for a rejig after their stuttering start to the new season, and with Jurgen Klopp dealt more injury blows
From being heavy on options up front, to youngsters Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho fighting for a spot in their injury-hit midfield, the Reds could look different when they welcome Crystal Palace to Anfield on Monday.
Having a refresh of the starting XI may not be too much of a bad thing after Klopp’s side could only collect a point from their trip to Fulham last weekend.
The Reds were held to a 2-2 draw against the newly-promoted west London side, going behind twice against the impressive Londoners, with Klopp saying ‘the attitude was not right’ from his team at Craven Cottage.
However, substitute and summer signing Darwin Nunez impressed again, bringing his side level in the second-half and injecting a new-found focus to their attack when he came off the bench.
Some were left disappointed by Klopp’s decision not the start the marquee summer signing, and he could make that right against the Eagles.
Meanwhile, there were more injury blows for the Reds with Thiago joining fellow midfielders Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones in on the sidelines as the Spanish maestro picked up a hamstring injury, which is expected to rule him out for at least a month.
But whilst the Spaniard’s huge personality and leadership will be a miss for Liverpool at Anfield, this does leave the door open for Elliott – fresh from signing his new contract – and Carvalho to make their mark.
So, which players could earn themselves a start this week as the Reds face their second London side this season, Crystal Palace?
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Of course, Alisson – Klopp’s first choice keeper – starts in goal.
Then, when it comes to Liverpool’s back-line, it’s unlikely Klopp will sway away from his long-standing back four of Andy Roberston, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
It’s fair to point out the Reds did look a bit shaky at the back in the opening game, with them conceding two goals to Fulham’s talisman Aleksandar Mitrovic.
But given Klopp’s side beat Palace 2-0 in pre-season with a weaker backline, the German probably won’t feel the need to shake up his go-to defensive options.
Meanwhile in midfield, Thiago’s absence leaves room for rising stars Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho to step in.
The latter came on as a substitute last weekend, with his side scoring just two minutes after he came on through Mohamed Salah.
Whilst Elliott has more Premier League experience, playing against Palace offers Klopp a chance to give Carvalho a proper run out.
As the Reds’ exciting new prospect, and given his impressive performances in pre-season, the 19-year-old may make his full Premier League debut for his new club.
And this is a decision former Reds star and talkSPORT co-host Danny Murphy would back.
“A lot of people might not have watched the Championship last year but he [Carvalho] was in double figures for goals,” Murphy said on Wednesday’s White and Jordan show.
“This lad is a talent. People have talked about losing Sadio Mane, how Nunez will do, whether Luis Diaz can continue his form… I think we’ll see Carvalho used more than you think.
“He’s got that wonderful balance to go past people, he glides past people. He’s only small but he’s got that great low centre of gravity.
“He is a great bit of business for Liverpool.”
When it comes to Liverpool’s attack, the departure of now-Bayern Munich man Mane hasn’t meant Klopp is short of attacking options.
With Firmino leading the line last time out, Liverpool’s goal threat clicked into gear once summer signing Nunez was brought on instead, with the Uruguayan getting his side level and bagging an assist.
So perhaps Klopp will opt to see how the Reds get on from the start with his new, physical striker up front against Palace’s strong defenders.
Predicted Liverpool line-up vs Crystal Palace:
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace is LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on talkSPORT – Monday August 15, kick-off: 8pm
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