It’s finally here – the start of the new Premier League season. After two-and-a-half months of waiting, the Reds are back at the Britannia Stadium, ready to right the wrongs after our last appearance in the Potteries.
There will have been plenty for Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers to mull over during the build-up to the game, both in terms of which formation and which personnel he wishes to go with.
Perhaps the biggest decision for him, will be who to include in midfield, with the likes of Roberto Firmino and Emre Can – who were late to join up with the rest of the squad for pre-season due to various international commitments – both attempting to make a late charge towards the starting eleven.
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Here’s how we expect Liverpool to start this afternoon…
GK) Simon Mignolet
The Belgian conceded just one goal during our pre-season campaign. With little to suggest that his place could be at risk from new signing Adam Bogdan, our number one should be the first name on the teamsheet. He has good memories of opening day encounters against Stoke, having saved a late Jonathan Walters penalty in 2013.
RB) Nathaniel Clyne
The first of four new signings to be included in this team and, arguably, the most obvious of those choices. With little competition for the former Southampton man at right-back, it will be important that he gets his season off to the best possible start, both attacking and defending down the flank.
LB) Joe Gomez
We’ve gone with the teenager to get the left-back spot ahead of Alberto Moreno. Judging by our pre-season campaign, the former Charlton starlet is the obvious choice, while Rodgers having also reiterated that he would not be adverse to the possibility of picking such a young player (via the Echo).
CB) Martin Skrtel
The Slovakian is the obvious choice for one of our two centre-back positions, with most of the question marks surrounding who will start alongside him. Having scored just once last season, the defender would love to get amongst the goals once again, as he did during the 2013-14 campaign.
CB) Dejan Lovren
We’ve gone – hesitantly – with Lovren to start against Stoke. Mamadou Sakho’s wife gave back to their second child earlier this week and the likelihood is that the Frenchman won’t be fully prepared for this game. This could hand a surprise reprieve to Lovren, who has not looked great during pre-season.