For Jürgen Klopp, the team he’s picked is all about fresh legs, which is what he has told the official club website.
With Roberto Firmino consigned to the bench, Naby Keïta is coming in to take his place in the Reds’ front three against Barcelona tonight. It will mean some positional swtiching though.
“Bobby wants to [play] and the medical department told me ‘yes, it’s good’ but then you have to make sure – I’m not sure if 90 minutes or whatever.
“So he doesn’t have to start, that’s why we start like we start. Bobby is on the bench, that’s good news.”
It looks like Keïta will operating on the left-wing, with Sadio Mané reprising his cameo down the middle against Watford (where he scored twice in the 5-0 win), and Mohamed Salah plying his trade down the right.
We’ll have to trust that Klopp knows what he’s doing.
People don’t understand that we’re playing away against Barcelona. It’s a CL tie where not conceding and coming back to 2nd leg with potential away goals is crucial. Gomez and Milner at RB and CM may not be our best line-up but they provide defensive stability.
— Señor (@EnRouteAnfield) May 1, 2019
It’s a carousel in the middle of the park too and Klopp has gone for freshness for the Barça game.
“The boys are all in good shape. [But] Hendo played five games in a row, for example, and we play on Saturday and Tuesday,” the boss explained.
“Millie didn’t play for two games so it was clear we had to use him. Fabinho didn’t play for two games so it was clear we had to use him. Naby didn’t have that many games during the whole season, Gini didn’t play all the games.
“That’s why midfield, where it’s really intense, is where we have to make sure we have legs there.
Obviously a big blow for #LFC with Firmino not deemed fit enough to start. Midfield diamond with Keita at the tip, or Keita to start on the left-side I wonder?
A shame for Alexander-Arnold, but a great opportunity for Joe Gomez to shine on this stage.
— Neil Jones (@neiljonesgoal) May 1, 2019
Likewise, Joe Gomez’s return from injury sees him nick the right-back spot from the in-form Trent Alexander-Arnold. Gomez has been out since December after he sustained a leg fracture against Burnley.
“It’s the same for Trent; it was clear when Joe would be available again that there would be a game and I think today it makes absolute sense in that position.
“For Trent it’s good, he can refresh a little bit, there are important games to come. But the first thing we wanted to make was a good line-up for tonight and for a good line-up you need legs and that’s what we tried to make sure.”
Gomez has had his share of extremely tidy performances at full-back, perhaps less expansive and maurauding than Trent, Gomez is still in our top three defenders at the club. We back him.