Klopp reviews Liverpool's FA Cup final win
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is expected to make a raft of changes when the Reds face Southampton tonight (8pm) despite the chance to trim the gap to leaders Manchester City. Liverpool can move within one point of City with one game to go if they win, although defeat at St Mary’s would end the title race. This fixture comes around 72 hours after the Reds’ FA Cup final win over Chelsea at Wembley in a match that went all the way to penalties and therefore Klopp will rotate his starting eleven somewhat. Express Sport looks at how Klopp could line up at Southampton.
Caoimhin Kelleher has not played since being the Carabao Cup final shootout hero against Chelsea at Wembley back in February. On Saturday it was Alisson’s turn to receive the penalty plaudits, and he will start again here.
The Brazilian is level with Manchester City’s Ederson on 20 clean sheets and knows a shut-out on the south coast would go a long way to securing his second ever Premier League Golden Glove after watching his countryman win it two years in a row at City.
Defence: Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Matip, Tsimikas
Klopp has some tough calls to make in defence. The German might have wanted to rest Alexander-Arnold here but injury to Virgil van Dijk means he will not play at centre-back. Joe Gomez may be asked to make a rare start in his usual position rather than as a deputy right-back.
The England international could fill in for Ibrahima Konate to avoid the Frenchman being risked. He was the only centre-back to play the full 120 minutes at Wembley at the weekend.
Joel Matip replaced Van Dijk for extra time and is a surefire starter at St Mary’s. At left-back Andy Robertson had to come off with cramp late on against Chelsea and so should also be spared, with the reliable Kostas Tsimikas – who scored the decisive penalty in the Wembley shootout – replacing him.
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Midfield: Henderson, Jones, Milner
This game comes too soon for Fabinho, who is nursing a hamstring injury sustained last week. Jordan Henderson filled in well in the holding role against Chelsea however. Though he played the full 120 minutes, the captain is likely to be asked to go again given the dearth of other No 6 options.
Liverpool will be wary not to overload Thiago Alcantara although he was only a substitute in last week’s win over Aston Villa. The Spaniard will surely drop to the bench again here.
Curtis Jones and James Milner are two of the main contenders to play in midfield with the former perhaps the most likely to start. Naby Keita was withdrawn after 74 minutes against Chelsea and so should be fine to keep his spot in the engine room against the Saints.
Attack: Jota, Firmino, Diaz
Liverpool also suffered injury to Mohamed Salah against Chelsea and it is a knock that is expected to rule him out of featuring at Southampton. Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are heavily fancied both to start.
Neither made the XI against Chelsea but came off the bench, albeit to relatively little effect in normal play though they did score their penalties. Firmino will lead the line as a false nine with Jota asked to play in Salah’s position on the right.
Sadio Mane has been brilliant for Liverpool of late but has started every game since the April 13 draw with Benfica. He could be handed a rest here with one eye on the Champions League final to come a week on Saturday, with Luis Diaz instead starting on the left. The Colombian played 110 minutes of the cup final and so he will start with the view to Mane, or Divock Origi or Takumi Minamino, replacing him around the hour mark.
Expected Liverpool XI vs Southampton in full: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Matip, Tsimikas; Henderson, Jones, Keita; Jota, Firmino, Diaz
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