PREVIEW by Alex Stevens
Jurgen Klopp could start all of his big-name attacking midfielders in Liverpool’s mouthwatering showdown against Arsenal on Sunday.
It initially appeared that at least one, and maybe two, of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and new signing Georginio Wijnaldum, would be on the substitute’s bench for the clash at Emirates Stadium.
But with injury problems affecting Daniel Sturridge and James Milner, doubts over the match fitness of Divock Origi and the effectiveness of Jordan Henderson, Klopp might put his faith in all five of his nimble and technically excellent playmakers.
Sadio Mane could spearhead the Liverpool attack ahead of the club’s three main strikers, just as he did in the 4-0 demolition of Barcelona last Saturday.
Divock Origi and Danny Ings were both on the bench for the Barcelona match and, although Origi scored in the second half, an injury that has disrupted his pre-season could mean he is overlooked to start the Arsenal.
Should the senior strikers be fit and firing, Mane is likely to drop back into his more natural attacking midfield position.
Milner could also be sidelined the clash after he tore a muscle in his foot in the weekend’s clash against Barcelona meaning that Wijnaldum may have to fall back into a more defensive role.
Simon Mignolet looks set to retain his position in goal, as the Reds suffered another injury in pre-season with new goalkeeper signing Loris Karius breaking his hand in a collision with defender Dejan Lovren during a clash against Chelsea.
First team options Marko Grujic, Lucas Leiva, Joe Gomez and Mamadou Sakho will miss out through injury, while the management will make late decisions on Sturridge (hip) and Milner (foot).
In other Liverpool team news, a £34.5million bid has been accepted for a player who has been the subject of a huge offer from Anfield.