Jurgen Klopp has a chance to build on Liverpool’s dramatic late victory at Newcastle as the Reds boss welcomes a dangerous Aston Villa team to Anfield on Sunday
Liverpool have a chance to continue their unbeaten start to the season on Sunday, with Aston Villa the visitors to Anfield.
Last season’s meeting saw Villa dash Liverpool’s Chmapions League hopes. Jacob Ramsey put Unai Emery’s side in front, with Roberto Firmino’s equaliser too little, too late for Jurgen Klopp’s men at a time when, realistically, only a win would have done.
Neither of those scorers will be involved on Sunday, with Ramsey injured and Firmino leaving for Al-Ahli over the summer. With the transfer window shut, three summer signings could feature for Liverpool, though the game will come too soon for deadline day signing Ryan Gravenberch.
Goalkeeper and defence
Alisson will continue between the sticks after continuing his impressive form into the new season. However, Liverpool will be forced into changes in front of the Brazilian.
At full-back, the first choice duo of Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold ought to continue. In the middle, though, Virgil van Dijk’s suspension and Ibrahim Konate’s injury mean the options in central defence are limited.
Who should start for Liverpool against Aston Villa? Have your say in the comments section
Iain Buist/Newcastle Chronicle)Nat Phillips is also unavailable, after completing a loan move to Celtic. This means we can expect to see Joe Gomez and Joel Matip together in the middle, at least for this game.
Jurgen Klopp added a fourth midfield signing late on Friday night, with Ryan Gravenberch joining from Bayern Munich in a £34.2m deal. It wasn’t wrapped up in time for this game, though, meaning the Dutch international will need to wait until after the international break to make his debut.
Klopp confirmed Thiago isn’t fit to return just yet, while Stefan Bajcetic is back in training but is unlikely to be involved just yet. This means the new-look midfield could continue for a second successive game.
A trio of summer arrivals started against Newcastle, with Wataru Endo joining Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister in the starting line-up. It could well be the same again at Anfield, with Szoboszlai the most advance of the three.
“Exactly how it should have been, being a massive threat,” Klopp said of Darwin Nunez after the Uruguayan’s impact from the bench last weekend. “Everyone could feel it, this game was massive. It looked like the game was going against us and the boys fought out of that, pretty impressive.”
Those goals could see Nunez brought into the starting XI to face Villa, with Cody Gakpo shifting left and Luis DIaz dropping to the bench. The big question, of course, concerns Mohamed Salah.
There has been interest from Al-Ittihad in the Egyptian, with Liverpool so far rebuffing it, and there’s no reason to think Klopp won’t stick with last season’s top scorer. The manager did recognise the threat of the Saudi Pro League in his pre-match press conference, though.
“I don’t know how long it will stay like this but I think the next two weeks will show how much of a challenge it is.,” he said .”Because no-one can react anymore [if they lose players]. We have to protect the game.”
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