A selected few of the Anfield Edition team have picked their Liverpool XI’s to face Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Laurie Yarde – Keita in Henderson out
The trip to Wembley on Saturday marks the start of what is a very testing month for the Reds’ and although rotation will be a necessity over the upcoming weeks, Klopp should stick with a very similar team as he did in the opening few weeks of the season.
With only one goal conceded in 4 games, the back five picks itself and I’m sure Alisson will bounce back from his horrendous error against Leicester. The back line is beginning to look very solid and even when Lovren is back in contention he’ll struggle to regain his place from Gomez, who has been absolutely immense.
The most contentious area of the team is clearly the midfield and I’d make one change from the team that played against Leicester, bringing Keita back in for Henderson. I have no idea why Hendo was singled out so much against Leicester, as none of the midfield played well, but the lack of creativity was a real problem against the Foxes and bringing Naby back in is a no brainer. I know there will be fans clamouring to bring in Fabinho and I think he’ll go onto be a key figure in the team but having him make his debut against Spurs away wouldn’t be the smartest decision in the world.
Despite not getting off to the best of starts, the front three picks itself as we all know what they’re capable of once they get firing.
This is the first real test of the season and having put in arguably our worst display of the season last year against Spurs away, a good result on the weekend would go a long way in showing how far this team can go.
(My starting XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Milner, Keita, Salah, Firmino, Mane)
Elliot Whitelaw – I want to see Shaqiri start – he can be the difference
Alisson won’t confuse anybody I imagine, yes he made a mistake against Leicester but I’d rather a keeper with the bollocks to do those kind of things than a keeper that isn’t.
Alexander-Arnold and Robertson both offer us an attacking option in terms of their crossing, which may come in very handy, especially because both of them are so fast (handy again if spurs play 3 at the back).
Van Dijk is slowly becoming the leader we have so desperately needed for the last few years, and I really hope he is given the captaincy soon, for me he’d be the first name on the teamsheet. Gomez is slowly coming into his own next to VVD, I can’t think of a better mentor in the league.
Gini has been exceptional as a 6 this season. He’s been disciplined and can read the game really well, which warrants keeping his place. Keita has also been great, we really missed him when he didn’t start against Leicester.
Shaqiri deserves a start and could prove to be the difference with some creativity from midfield, he presses well and can hold up the ball excellently – also is a bit of a bastard which we need for a game like this.
Front three picks itself, Salah slowly coming back into his own after some political issues off the pitch, Mane being Mane and Bobby being Bobby, not much else needs to be said – doubt anyone would disagree with that front three.
(My starting XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Keita, Shaqiri, Salah, Mane, Firmino)
Owen Maers – Two changes to the side that beat Leicester – Fabinho one of them
Naby Keita needs to come back into the team – no questions asked. Against Leicester City, we clearly missed his dynamism and ability to carry the ball out of defence, with the front three heavily isolated.
It was no coincidence that Salah, Mane and Firmino struggled to impact the game, the link between midfield and attack was lost without Keita and Liverpool looked off the pace. The Egyptian in particular, who had his worst game for Liverpool in a very long time (not a bad thing really, he’s given us so many good moments a bad game was expected sooner or later!)
Other than that is there any change needed; probably not. The defence maintained their astounding form and would have kept a clean sheet if it wasn’t for Alisson’s antics! Whether Henderson will keep his place remains to be seen, Fabinho is ready having played 90 minutes against USA for Brazil during this week’s International Break.
Whether Klopp will opt to introduce him to a baptism of fire is another thing, with the boss cautious of throwing him into the deep end especially in what is historically such a fast paced, high-scoring affair. However, I’ll stick my neck out and say I think he starts on Saturday.
(My starting XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Keita, Milner, Mane, Firmino, Salah)