Liverpool travel to the West Midlands tomorrow as the Reds face off against Aston Villa for the first time since our 6-0 thrashing of the Lions in 2016.
I tried to predict our starting XI against Arsenal in the EFL Cup – and got it outrageously wrong, so take my suggestions here with a pinch of salt.
Saying that, trying to put a pin in what Jurgen Klopp will do in a competition that he apparently doesn’t care a great deal about is no short order!
I’d expect Alisson to return to the starting XI, after a more than admirable effort from Kev Kelleher in the Cup. With the injury news of Joel Matip, I’m tipping Dejan Lovren to partner Virgil van Dijk in the heart of our defence.
Then I think Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold will make up the back line, with the stars getting a well-earned rest after a gruelling game against Spurs.
In midfield, surely captain Jordan Henderson will return to the fold and I’d like to see him joined by Gini Wijnaldum, as you’d be wise to expect, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
It’s quite likely Klopp will opt to play Fabinho, but I think a chance against newly-promoted Villa would be an opportunity the on-form Ox would revel in!
That being said, if the Brazilian picks up a yellow card against Villa, he’ll be unavailable for our massive game against Man City – there’s certainly some uncertainty.
Sadly, Naby Keita has sustained another injury, and will not be involved at Villa. Hopefully he bounces back, it was looking as if he was finally coming into his own at Liverpool.
Up top, we’ll have Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Bobby Firmino – I don’t expect any surprises there, especially with Divock Origi playing the full 90′ against Arsenal.
If Xherdan Shaqiri was fit enough, I’d say there’d be a chance Mo might sit this one out as he’s been nursing an injury, but I think the Egyptian will play fine enough.