Liverpool are taking on Barcelona in a blockbuster friendly on Saturday at Wembley Stadium, and we predict the lineup could be very similar to the one that will take the field against Arsenal in our Premier League opener one week later…
For this reason, we think Jurgen Klopp could deploy a 4-3-3 with more bodies centrally – which would be sensible away to the Gunners on August 14.
We played this way away to Chelsea and Manchester City last term and it bore great results, and think it could be a smart way to begin this campaign.
This means, if we’re right, that one of the playmakers will have to sit out…
With Loris Karius injured, Simon Mignolet is a certainty to begin in goal. Nathaniel Clyne obviously plays right-back, and we think Alberto Moreno will start over James Milner at left-back despite some pre-season experimentation. Due to injuries, Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren will continue to develop their relationship at the heart of defence – and have perhaps the hardest task in football in stopping Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
In a 4-3-3, Can naturally holds at the base, enabling both summer transfer Gini Wijnaldum and captain Jordan Henderson a spot either side. The skipper is best when given licence to bomb forward and back, while the role should also suit our Dutch signing.
This means Milner on the bench alongside Marko Grujic.
The front-three was more difficult to predict, and we’ve actually suggested Roberto Firmino will make way for the extra body centrally – despite the Brazilian impressing in pre-season. This means Coutinho on the left, the pace of Sadio Mane on the right and Daniel Sturridge leading the line.
Although in truth, either Firmino or Divock Origi could play Sturridge’s central role. It depends on Klopp’s preference.
Of course, if he goes with 4-2-3-1, one of Henderson or Wijnaldum will make way and Firmino will play no.10.
The likes of Adam Lallana and Sheyi Ojo are likely to provide further options from the bench.