Picking Liverpool’s starting XI has been quite a simple task for Jürgen Klopp this season. Bar a few tweaks to the midfield depending on the opposition, the rest of the team pretty much picks itself given a fully fit squad to choose from.
However, after Thursday night’s humbling at the hands of fallen champions Manchester City, some may argue Klopp should consider ringing in the changes.
Given his intense post-match interview at the Etihad, it’s clear the German tactician saw no issues with his sides mentality and approach to the game, despite them being safe in the knowledge they can no longer be knocked off their perch as the league's top dogs.
Klopp is yet to experience back-to-back Premier League defeats since arriving at Anfield in October 2015, and chances are he’s in no mood to blemish that record.
Here’s a look at the starting XI which should take the field as Liverpool look to avoid consecutive league defeats.
1. Goalkeeper & Defenders
Alisson (GK) – Despite shipping four at City there’s no doubt Klopp will start with regular number one Alisson. The Brazilian has been a colossus this season and has played a huge part in the club’s progression over the past few seasons.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – Undoubtedly one of the finest right backs in the world at the moment. The 21-year-old has enjoyed a fantastic season, with his delivery from the wide areas and from set pieces becoming a feature of the team’s play.
Virgil van Dijk (CB) – The reigning PFA Player of the Year has been instrumental in Liverpool’s successful campaign, offering stability and reassurance to the backline. Easily the first name on the team sheet.
Joe Gomez (CB) – Had an off night at the Etihad, though in fairness City’s brilliance would have made life difficult for even the world’s best defenders. His matchup with Raheem Sterling showed he still has a lot to learn, though his progression next to Van Dijk is there for all to see.
Andy Robertson (LB) – The Scot seemed out of sorts on Thursday night, perhaps still looking to regain sharpness having missed the Merseyside derby through injury. Will no doubt pick up with more minutes under his belt.
Fabinho (CM) – After being given time to settle into the first team in his maiden season at the club, Fabinho has emerged as one of Liverpool’s most important players. The Brazilian’s eye for danger and ability to act as a metronome in the midfield has been invaluable this year.
Jordan Henderson (CM) – Hotly tipped by many to take Van Dijk’s PFA Player of the Year award from him. The former Sunderland man has enjoyed a stellar season and his influence on the team can’t be underestimated.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (CM) – Despite defending his side after the game, Klopp will no doubt be desperate to get back to winning ways, and the inclusion of Oxlade-Chamberlain will add extra drive and attacking emphasis to the midfield.
Mohamed Salah (FW) – Looked lively early on against City and was within inches of opening the scoring only to see his shot cannon back off the post. Salah will be keen to rediscover his goalscoring touch as he goes in search of a third consecutive Golden Boot.
Roberto Firmino (FW) – Despite what he brings to the team, Firmino knows as a striker he’s ultimately judged on his goal output, and eight goals in a side as free-flowing as Liverpool is a measly return. The Brazilian will hope to finish the season strongly having experienced a dip in form of late.
Sadio Mané (FW) – Arguably Liverpool’s most consistent forward has looked off the pace since the return. A non-existent performance in the Merseyside derby along with a poor showing at City represents a poor run of form for the usually brilliant forward, and he’ll see a trip to Villa as a great chance to get back among the goals.