Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp could not have asked for a better start to the Champions League knockout stages after his team beat Inter Milan 2-0 at the San Siro three weeks ago in their first leg tie. But with the German aiming to qualify for the quarter-finals, he still has three problems to worry about due to the superb level of squad depth the Reds boast
Goals from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino in Milan sent the travelling Reds supporters into ecstasy in what was one of Liverpool’s toughest fixtures of the season so far.
Attention turns to Anfield on Tuesday, where the Nerazzurri will look to cause an upset by overturning their two-goal deficit at one of the world’s most notoriously boisterous stadiums.
It will be a hard feat for Simone Inzaghi’s men, who barely had a sniff at goal against the Merseyside outfit on their own turf.
And Klopp has several selection headaches ahead of the second leg, in which he may rotate his team slightly in some positions to save fresh legs for the Premier League tie against Brighton on Saturday.
Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk are all set to start in the heart of defence and will be the men tasked with the job of keeping out Inter’s dangerous attack that includes Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez.
However, Klopp has a dilemma as to who will partner Dutch star Van Dijk at centre-back.
Joel Matip has been preferred to Ibrahima Konate for the majority of the season, with the Cameroon international producing consistently solid performances.
His fitness may be an issue for the visit of the Italian champions, having missed the 1-0 win over West Ham on Saturday with illness.
Konate was named the man of the match in the first leg and the Frenchman knew exactly how to deal with the Inter attack, which could well see him chosen to start with Van Dijk.
Elsewhere, Fabinho and Naby Keita’s superb performances of late will likely see them get the nod against the troublesome Inter threat.
But Liverpool’s depth in midfield has given Klopp food for thought ahead of the tie.
Thiago Alcantara is fit again and could return to the team after missing the last two matches.
However, the German could opt not to risk the Spaniard and give captain Jordan Henderson another run-out – although he would prefer his skipper to be fresh for the weekend.
And there is also a tough decision to make with the front three.
Mohamed Salah’s prowess means he is almost certain to start on the right flank.
But Luis Diaz’s good start to life at Anfield alongside Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota’s superb form means that one will have to miss out.
And that is most likely to be Jota, with the Portugal star having missed two of Liverpool’s last three games with an ankle injury. He could start at Brighton at the weekend instead.
Expected Liverpool XI vs Inter Milan: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Keita, Henderson; Salah, Jota, Mane
Leave a Reply