Liverpool predicted XI v West Ham: Sturridge & Benteke to start in diamond

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As he has done during all three of our FA Cup fixtures so far this season, Jurgen Klopp will likely pick a completely different side to the one which is featuring in the Premier League.

This means Danny Ward, who’s usurped Adam Bogdan as Liverpool’s no.2, will likely make his first start for Liverpool.

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If he impresses, there’ll be calls for him to keep his spot in the side ahead of Simon Mignolet for a continued run.

In defence, Jon Flanagan should come in at right-back, Brad Smith at left-back, with Steven Caulker also a certainty at centre-back. Kolo Toure will likely start alongside the QPR loanee, although Tiago Ilori also has the possibility to start.

James Pearce writes in the Echo that Kevin Stewart, Pedro Chirivella, Sheyi Ojo and Cameron Brannagan were left out of Liverpool Under-21’s defeat to Manchester United, and we think the first two will start in central midfield as a result. Brannagan would have got the nod, but he’s ill and unavailable.

Lucas was left out of the Premier League draw to Sunderland, which means he could start alongside them to add some steel and experience.

In the final third, we’re boldly predicting Klopp will change shape so we can deploy both Christian Benteke and Daniel Sturridge up front. Joao Carlos Teixeira is the natural fit for the no.10 role, while Ojo and Jordon Ibe can provide width on the flanks if needed.

The last match Sturridge started was in a diamond formation – away to Southampton in the League Cup – and he scored twice alongside Divock Origi in what was one of our most impressive performances of the season.

Coutinho and Origi are back fit, but we don’t imagine they’ll start having not made the bench at the weekend. If they do feature as subs though both will be in contention for a start against Aston Villa next weekend.

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