The UEFA Champions League is next for Liverpool and could be their best opportunity to qualify for next seasons competition with their impressive record in knockout competitions.
Most notably two European Cup finals in successive seasons for Jurgen Klopp’s side in 2018 and 2019. Although only victorious in one, the point still stands and Liverpool begin their bid to make it seven in Istanbul with a trip to Hungary for the first leg against Red Bull Leipzig.
At the weekend, the dark clouds surrounding Liverpool continued to loom large as Brendan Rodgers’ inflicted misery on his successor Jurgen Klopp with a 3-1 win.
In the space of six minutes, the game was turned on it’s head as Mohamed Salah’s brilliant goal saw three two unanswered replies in a fixture marred by individual mistakes and the age old topic of VAR.
Although still fiercely in the race for the Champions League places, the teams around the Reds seemingly have the upper hand with games to play namely rivals Everton – who Liverpool play in their Premier League fixture – and Spurs. Which opens up the opportunity for the reigning league champions to gain qualification through winning the European Cup for a seventh time.
Thiago in for Milner as Liverpool line-up the same
With restricted options currently available to Jurgen Klopp, there are presumably limited decisions at hand for the German.
Ozan Kabak deserves to keep his spot at the heart of defence, with a generally solid individual display at the King Power.
In the engine room, Curtis Jones warrants a start for his creative qualities, while Thiago’s experience with tomorrow’s opposition could be of benefit to the Spaniard. With quality depth currently lacking in the offensive department, the front three picks itself.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Henderson, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Thiago, Jones, Salah, Firmino, Mane.
More Liverpool Minutes for Kabak
The best way for Liverpool to get over the disappointment at Leicester City is to play again. So the trip to the Hungary capital couldn’t come at a better time.
Alisson hasn’t been at his best in the last two games with three glaring mistakes, but these things happen. Caoimhin Kelleher has a slight problem too so the Brazilian shot-stopper has to start.
I would have the same back four that played on Saturday (Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Henderson and Robertson) as we have no other real options. Winning the Champions League is arguably our best chance for securing qualification if recent form and current standings are anything to go by.
Curtis Jones wasn’t at his best at the weekend but he was replaced and we capitulated again, make of that what you will. There are must needed improvements from the defeat from the midfield.
Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah’s link up for the only goal for the visitors at the King Power was a joy to behold.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Henderson, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Thiago, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Liverpool to remain unchanged
Other than a calamitous seven minutes, Liverpool dominated most of the game against Leicester.
Therefore, I believe changes will be minimal for tomorrow’s seismic Champions League tie against RB Leipzig.
Despite an obvious lapse in judgment, Alisson still pulled off a number of great saves on Saturday.
With Caoimhim Kelleher’s recent injury, the Brazilian has to be a shoo-in, irrespective of his drop in confidence. The big question is, who will start alongside Jordan Henderson in the centre of defence?
For me, it is between Nathaniel Phillips and new signing, Ozan Kabak. Both are confident at heading the ball, handy considering Leipzig’s aerial prowess up top.
Both are relatively comfortable with the ball at their feet; again, convenient for the German side’s high and intense press.
However, I am going to go with the Turk. Valuably, he has played against Julian Nagelsmann’s side in his time at Schalke and Stuttgart.
I think that Klopp will start the same midfield as last time. Liverpool just did not look the same after Curtis Jones was replaced, a mere three minutes before Leicester’s first goal.
Thiago and Wijnaldum should also provide some key experience to steer the Reds through this big occasion.
Until Diogo Jota’s return, I cannot see another alternative to the regular front three. Once they wipe off their rust and click back into place, so will Liverpool.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, Kabak, Robertson; Jones, Thiago, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Kabak’s Experience of Leipzig to Be Utilised
Alisson keeps his place due to the fact he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world
With Fabinho still absent and Ben Davies missing the previous league match I think Ozan Kabak will keep his place.
There are few options to chose from and due to Kabak having locking horns with the Leipzig attackers on a number of occasions in the Bundesliga, he has to start.
The same goes with Thiago. The Spaniard is a big-time player and has a plenty of experience in the European football experience with two Champions League titles to his name.
I think in midfield Curtis Jones will start as a result of James Milner early exit from the game through injury on Saturday.
The front three picks itself.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Henderson, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Jones, Thiago, Mané, Firmino, Salah.
The LFCTR Writers picks are pretty unanimous. It is a must-win game in bizarre times where neither team is either home or away.
It’s the bare bones for the German head coach’s options for selection with, as Jadine mentioned, Fabinho sidelined and January/February signing Ben Davies picking up a knock that saw him miss the game.