By David Lynch, Merseyside Correspondent

8th Apr, 2023 | 2:30pm

David Lynch predicts Liverpool XI v Arsenal after final training session: Harvey Elliott starts among six changes

Jurgen Klopp was not shy of admitting on Friday that this weekend’s meeting with Arsenal is likely to be a ‘season-defining’ game for Liverpool.

Ten points and four places shy of the Premier League’s top four, the Reds desperately need to find some form over the final 10 games if they are to have any chance of Champions League qualification.

But their bid to do that starts with a daunting fixture against the league leaders, who have shrugged off a minor February wobble to win their last seven games in this competition.

Asked if this will be a decisive test of Liverpool’s top-four credentials, Klopp replied: “Unfortunately it could. If we win we could be four points out [from top four]. That would be a completely normal situation for us.

“We lost to City, so now we have to win a football game. It might be hard to come up with different questions but it’s even harder to come up with different answer every week.”

This is exactly why the German’s team selection on Sunday is so important; get it wrong against the in-form Gunners and you are likely to take a heavy beating.

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Still, after making six changes for a midweek draw with Chelsea, Klopp’s preferred XI for this one might not be as predictable as usual.

The back five should pick itself at least, with Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson in line for recalls after being rested on Tuesday, while Virgil van Dijk is available after illness.

However, things get a little bit more complicated in a midfield that, while in need of summer surgery, is not short of numbers.

Football Insider understands that Harvey Elliott‘s omission against Chelsea was simply a recognition of the fact he had featured in 41 consecutive games this season.

Surely, then, he comes back in aiming to recreate the all-action performance that made him key to the recent 7-0 thrashing of Manchester United at Anfield.

Fabinho looks certain to partner him given the lack of alternative options in holding midfield, meaning the remaining position is most probably a straight shootout between Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara.

The Spaniard is expected to be ready after returning to training this week and is believed to have completed Saturday’s final training session without complications but, having been out for two months, might just miss out to the captain on the basis of sharpness.

As for the front three, midweek rests for Mohamed Salah and Cody Gakpo have them poised to return, while Darwin Nunez would round off the same attacking unit that ran riot in the aforementioned win over United.

Of course, for all the likely similarities between the starting XI on that day and this time out against Arsenal, Liverpool know they won’t have things anywhere near as easy.

Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Elliott, Fabinho, Henderson; Salah, Gakpo, Nunez.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are confident that Thiago Alcantara will be part of the squad to face Arsenal on Sunday.