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There’s been a lot of twists and turns leading up to the build-up of the colossal match on Saturday, when Liverpool welcome arch-rivals Manchester United at Anfield. Initially, United were dealt with major blows as Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini were sidelined but then came the news of Sadio Mane’s injury, which frustrated a lot of Liverpool fans.
Nevertheless, the show must go on. Jurgen Klopp has an alarming lack of squad depth up front, but the manager could be considering the possibility of shifting Philippe Coutinho to the left. That could open up room for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to make a start for Liverpool. The home side are in dire need of a victory and will be determined to beat United on Saturday.
Sadio Mane will be the biggest absence in their line-up. This could propel Klopp to deploy Coutinho in the role he occupied for most of last season – playing on the left wing. Oxlade-Chamberlain could fill in the spot on the left of central midfield then, but it remains to be seen if the player can add value to the side. Long term absentee Lallana still remains out but he is not far away from a return.
The defence is likely to be the same more or less, with Trent Alexander-Arnold likely to play at right-back.
Mignolet has been shaky in front in goal but he is still likely to start. Liverpool have an unwanted record of conceding 12 goals in 7 matches. While that cannot entirely be blamed on him, the keeper will have to be in top-notch form against United.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB)
The youngster has been impressive at right-back so far, and the opportunity to start against Manchester United will be huge.
Matip has been receiving a lot of flak for his lacklustre performances as a centre-back but he is expected to start ahead of Ragnar Klavan.
Matip should be partnered by Lovren, who has angered some of the Liverpool fans with his inefficiency. However, Klopp does not have any other recognised option, so Lovren should be handed a start.
Completing the back line should be Moreno at left-back. He will have to face to brunt of the United attack in the form of either Martial or Rashford on the left, so Moreno will have to be solid.
If Can starts, he could possibly be lining up to play against his potential suitors and it will be interesting to see how that goes.
Henderson has been struggling for major parts of the new season. His numbers look terrible while his form is a shadow of his former self. However, he will have a good opportunity to prove himself against the Red Devils.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (LCM)
Chamberlain has been vocal about his preference for this role, so Klopp is likely to deploy him in central midfield. The player has been feeble so far, but should look to be strong against United.
A key player, Coutinho is likely to be pushed forward to make up for Mane’s absence. Moreover, this is a role he excelled in for most of the previous season.
After his historic performance for Egypt, Salah is in red-hot form coming into this game, and he should be keen on getting his name on the scoresheet more than once.
The Brazilian should be in line to start after his strong performances in earlier games. However, he is yet to find that blistering form he is famous for, and would look to regain some of that power on Saturday.