Liverpool predicted XI v Fulham: Reds teenager & signing to be handed starring roles in opening league clash

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Liverpool must first navigate a crunch clash with Manchester City in the Community Shield, closely followed by a final pre-season tie with Strasbourg, before Fulham entertains the Reds at Craven Cottage.

The Merseysiders have enjoyed something of a mixed bag of results ahead of the start of the 2022/23 campaign, though that will come as little in the way of concern for Jurgen Klopp and his coaching staff given the importance placed on fitness and fundamentals.

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Fans have already been treated to something of a preview of the XI the German tactician will settle on for the Reds’ visit to the King Power Stadium on Saturday after the manager held back his strongest members of the squad for second-half of action in Austria.

Still, it remains to be seen whether that prospective lineup will be an accurate reflection of the kind of side that will be put out on the opening day of the Premier League season.

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Though we’d expect Darwin Nunez won’t be thrown into the deep end this coming weekend, there’s a very real possibility that the £64m signing from Benfica will get his moment to shine in the first-XI against Fulham.

Indeed, Klopp himself suggested that the result against RB Salzburg might have turned out somewhat differently had the 23-year-old featured alongside Liverpool’s first-choice options.

“Darwin was much too often alone. Everybody dropped, everybody was involved in the build-up but too wide and we could only pass the ball to Darwin in the box,” the 55-year-old told LFCTV (via the club’s official website).

“He had his moments and nearly scored, but he needs much more support around him. You keep other players busy that they cannot focus on him.

“So many things. Second half, imagine now Darwin would have been there in the box, that would have helped as well. It is like it is – doesn’t feel great, but we take it and go from here.”

Likewise, we at the Empire of the Kop would be far from surprised to see Fabio Carvalho – who has stunned fans with the high quality of his pre-season performances – also be given the nod by his new manager come 6th August.

Ahead of Alisson Becker in goal, we’ll be backing Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate to form a partnership in the heart of the back four.

In the middle of the park, a trio of Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson seems most likely at this point in time.

To complete the XI, we can see Jurgen Klopp favouring a forward line comprised of Luis Diaz, new boy Darwin Nunez and Mo Salah.

EOTK’s predicted XI: Alisson, Robertson, Konate, Van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Thiago, Carvalho, Diaz, Nunez, Salah

#Ep56 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: Nunez silences critics! Firmino to start v Man City?… & more!

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