Liverpool v Man City: Premier League preview
Liverpool host Manchester City in a huge Premier League showdown on Sunday, with the reigning champions playing catch-up to the current league leaders. Jurgen Klopp is expected to be boosted by the return of three key players – here, Express Sport looks at the expected Reds’ line-up.
Goalkeeper – Alisson
Alisson has returned to training after missing the midweek defeat to Brighton due to injury.
Caoimhin Kelleher played in between the sticks against the Seagulls and was one of Liverpool’s better players, making two important saves late on.
But Alisson is a huge player for Jurgen Klopp’s side, and his return will be a big confidence boost for his team-mates.
With Liverpool seven points behind City having a played a game more, Klopp is likely to go with his trusted No1 as the Reds look to close the gap to Pep Guardiola’s side.
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Defence – Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Kabak, Robertson
As with Alisson, the return of Fabinho to training this week is an important boost for Liverpool.
The Brazilian has missed the last three games with a muscle injury, having been a mainstay at the heart of Liverpool’s defence amid the Reds’ injury crisis.
Loan signing Ozan Kabak is available to make his debut, and could start alongside Fabinho, allowing Jordan Henderson to move back into midfield.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson will start as full-backs and look to provide the ammo for Liverpool down the flanks.
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Midfield -Henderson, Thiago, Wijnaldum
Like Fabinho, Henderson has impressed as a makeshift centre-back with Liverpool’s defence having been hammered by injuries.
But the Reds’ engine room is not the same without Henderson’s work rate and combativeness – nor his covering for Alexander-Arnold when the marauding full-back rampages down the right.
Henderson’s return to the centre of the park will be much-needed as Liverpool look to win the midfield battle against the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri and Bernardo Silva.
He is likely to line up alongside Thiago Alcantara and Georginio Wijnaldum, with James Milner dropping to the bench.
Attack – Salah, Firmino, Mane
The other big news for Liverpool ahead of the City game is the return of Sadio Mane.
Mane joined Alisson and Fabinho in returning to training this week after missing the last two games with a muscle injury.
Klopp could opt to stick with Xherdan Shaqiri and ease Mane back to action from the bench.
But the Senegal forward’s ability to unlock defences was missed against Brighton, and he will be a valuable asset against a City defence which has kept seven successive clean sheets in a all competitions.
He is likely to start alongside Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
Liverpool expected XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Kabak, Robertson; Henderson, Thiago, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Firmino.
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