After the draw against West Bromwich Albion in the domestic league at the weekend, Liverpool bounced back well to beat AS Roma 5-2 in the first leg of the semi-finals of the UCL earlier this week. But Jurgen Klopp’s men still need four points to cement their place in the Champions League next season as well and cannot afford to drop any points in the league campaign.
They face a tricky test as they welcome Stoke City to Anfield today. The Potters, who are fresh from back to back draws against West Ham and Burnley in the last two games, are winless in their last 11 league games and are struggling in the 19th place, four points off safety. Paul Lambert will set them up to frustrate Liverpool all game but Klopp will believe that his side has what it takes to steal all three points from this game. With three long days of rest before the 2nd leg of the UCL tie against Roma, the Reds are not expected to rest players in this game. Here is the predicted lineup Klopp might field for this tie:
The Reds are still without Joel Matip and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, both of who are out for the rest of the season. Emre Can will not be fit for the rest of the league campaign but Adam Lallana is back in training and should be available for selection from the end of the next week. Sadio Mane has a hamstring issue and will not be risked for this weekend.
Expected lineup (4-3-3):
Loris Karius had a testing time against Roma and will hope to build up some confidence in this game before the trip to Italy. He will start under the bar while Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren could continue in their roles at the heart of the defence for the home side.
Trent Alexander-Arnold should be rested, giving Joe Gomez a chance at right-back while Andrew Robertson should continue at left-back to add some stability to the side.
Jordan Henderson is Liverpool’s best option in a no.6 role and the skipper will hope to put in a similar shift as he did in the match-winning performance in that European tie. James Milner could be rested for the 2nd leg and could be replaced by Ben Woodburn in the midfield while Georginio Wijnaldum, who also had a solid game against Roma will complete the midfield for Liverpool.
With Sadio Mane absent, Liverpool might use Danny Ings in an attacking role, pushing Roberto Firmino on to the left wing. Mohamed Salah, who is chasing a couple of league records should keep his place in the side on the right flank.
Here is how they might line up: