Klopp to ring the changes; Liverpool expected 4-2-3-1 v Newcastle
PREVIEW By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Jurgen Klopp is set to ring the changes for the third consecutive weekend as he makes full use of his squad in preparation for next Thursday’s Europa League showdown with Villarreal.
The five-day gap between the Premier League clash against Newcastle and the first leg of the Europa League semi-final is likely to prevent wholesale changes.
Bar Roberto Firmino, Klopp changed his entire team for last Sunday’s 2-1 win at Bournemouth as he fielded an experimental line-up.
The Merseysiders host Newcastle less than 72 hours after annihilating Everton and, with a top-four finish looking unlikely, key men such as Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho could be wrapped in cotton wool ahead of the trip to Spain.
With Divock Origi, Jordan Henderson and Emre Can already facing uphill battles to play again this season, Klopp can ill afford to lose any more first-team regulars.
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Fringe players like Kolo Toure, Brad Smith, Jon Flanagan, Sheyi Ojo and Jordan Ibe will come into the reckoning to start against Newcastle, while Joe Allen is also likely to start for the third time in four league games.
Further upfield, Daniel Sturridge is the only striker left standing after Origi suffered the cruel injury that could sideline him for the rest of the season.
This could mean the in-form England international playing around an hour to keep him fresh for the first leg against Villarreal.
Liverpool (possible): Mignolet; Flanagan, Lucas, Toure, Smith; Milner, Allen; Ojo, Lallana, Ibe; Sturridge.
In other Liverpool team news, the Merseysiders have been given a fitness update on another big-name attacker.