Liverpool expected 4-2-3-1 v Chelsea: Attacker and defender axed

By Alex Stevens

Jurgen Klopp is likely to make only minor amends to the Liverpool team for Friday’s Premier League showdown against Chelsea.

The Merseysiders hammered Leicester 4-1 at the weekend with an eyecatching attacking display that has been a hallmark of their early season performances.

Liverpool defended solidly bar Lucas’ dreadful blunder that gifted Jamie Vardy a goal, controlled the midfield for much of the match and counter-attacked with pace and menace, with the front four in fine fettle.

Friday’s clash at Stamford Bridge will provide a different sort of challenge for Klopp’s men as they take on one of the Premier League’s in-form teams.

Klopp will pick a team that is best able to pick apart the John Terry-less hosts’ defence on the counter-attack, which could mean Roberto Firmino spearheading the attack for the fourth time in five league matches.

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That would mean the unfortunate Daniel Sturridge once again being relegated to the bench.

Klopp said at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday that he was delighted with Sturridge’s display against Leicester, particularly his all-round contribution to the attack.

With Firmino and in-form duo Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana all nailed-on starters, Sturridge is the most likely player to make way if Philippe Coutinho is recalled to the starting XI.

Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi, who are more authentic spearheads than Firmino, could once again have to start on the bench.

Further back in the team, Klopp is likely to start with the same back four who impressed at Tottenham, where Joel Matip made the first of two hugely promising Premier League starts.

Fit-again Dejan Lovren, who missed out against Leicester due to a facial injury, is set to return to the starting XI ahead of Lucas.

With Emre Can once again ruled out by an ankle injury, Liverpool are unlikely to tinker in central midfield.

Jordan Henderson and summer signing Georginio Wijnaldum have been paired for the opening four league matches even though neither is a natural anchorman.

In other Liverpool team news, a defender has signed a two-year contract.