Jurgen Klopp must make several difficult decisions ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League opener against Fulham
Liverpool’s pre-season preparations are complete, and the 2022/23 season is rapidly approaching, after defeating Manchester City in the Community Shield and then losing to Strasbourg this weekend.
The Reds have been hit hard by injuries this summer, with Ibrahima Konate joining Alisson Becker, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Diogo Jota. Despite this, Jurgen Klopp fielded a nearly full-strength team against Pep Guardiola’s men, and the Reds won 3-1 thanks to goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah, and Darwin Nunez.
Jurgen Klopp’s pre-match press conference later this week, ahead of Liverpool’s season opener at Fulham, will provide an injury update. And, after injuries forced the German to name a very young team for the Reds’ final pre-season game away at Strasbourg on Sunday, we take a look at who might line up at Craven Cottage.
Alisson Becker is back.
Due to an abdominal injury, Alisson has not played for Liverpool since their preseason opener against Manchester United. However, Klopp stated prior to the Community Shield that the Brazilian will be fit to face Fulham, so he should take Adrian’s place.
In defense, Ibrahima Konate’s injury at Strasbourg, however minor, should see Joel Matip start the season as the first-choice center-back alongside Virgil van Dijk. The same back four that defeated Manchester City returns, thanks to Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.
The midfield selects itself.
Following the absences of Naby Keita and Curtis Jones from Liverpool’s friendly loss to Strasbourg due to illness and injury, respectively, it would be surprising if Klopp did not start the Community Shield with the same midfield that started at the King Power Stadium.
Although Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho are options, they will most likely be restricted to substitute duty alongside vice-captain James Milner, with Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, and Thiago Alcantara getting the nod.
What was Darwin’s first appearance?
Darwin Nunez will be hoping that his performance in the Community Shield, which saw him come off the bench to win a penalty and score against Manchester City, will persuade Klopp to give him his first start against Fulham. With Diogo Jota still out, Roberto Firmino will lead the line if he is restricted to the bench once more, though the Uruguayan should make his Premier League debut from the bench.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah will almost certainly start on the right flank, with Luis Diaz likely to start on the opposite flank. Carvalho, on the other hand, could be a surprise outside option for Klopp if he makes his debut for the Reds.