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Liverpool lineup vs. Southampton – Up to 3 full debuts as youth takes centre-stage?


After 120 minutes of action on Sunday and injuries to consider, Jurgen Klopp has plenty of decisions to make, and it looks to favour the kids – who we know are more than alright.

The manager conceded “we need miracles with a few players” when it comes to injuries and fitness concerns, unsurprising considering he was without 11 senior players at Wembley.

After a taxing final and only three days to rest and prepare for Southampton‘s visit, Liverpool’s squad is finely balanced, though Klopp insists he will find a team that is “competitive.”

With a league match on Saturday to also consider, it would not be surprising for the likes of Wataru Endo, Luis Diaz and Harvey Elliott to be kept out of the team after all playing 120 minutes on Sunday.

As for Virgil van Dijk, we could see the manager split game time to help his squad through yet another match. But how exactly could he set up his team?


Team News

The manager was not short on updates to provide with this match just days after a gruelling cup final:

  • Gravenberch out with ankle ligament injury, to miss minimum next two games
  • “Have to see” if Salah, Nunez and Szoboszlai are options
  • Endo “got a proper knock” to his ankle, will be in doubt
  • “No timescale” for Thiago‘s return, may not see him again this season
  • Bajcetic is “pain free” but yet to be given “green light” to return


Liverpool’s XI vs. Southampton

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 25, 2024: Liverpool's Luis Díaz, Alexis Mac Allister, Lewis Koumas and Jayden Danns celebrate after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0 after extra-time. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After Sunday’s triumph, there will be no qualms about seeing young names on the team sheet, and there is potential for a handful at Anfield.

Before we get to the youngsters, though, there is certainly scope for Conor Bradley (72), Alexis Mac Allister (87) and Cody Gakpo (87) to all start after each playing less than 90 minutes in the League Cup final.

And after coming off the bench against Chelsea, Jarell Quansah, Kostas Tsimikas, James McConnell, Bobby Clark and Jayden Danns appear in the best position to start the match, and the latter would be making his full debut.

Eighteen-year-old Lewis Koumas could join Danns in attack for his first Liverpool appearance, he is a flexible option and has earned his chance with his output at youth level.

Ibrahima Konate‘s inclusion, meanwhile, would only be considered if he is to play no more than a half, with either Van Dijk or Joe Gomez then taking over.

  • Kelleher, Bradley and Konate retained, joined by Quansah and Tsimikas
  • Van Dijk or Gomez to take over from Konate at half-time
  • McConnell to sit in No. 6 role next to Clark and Mac Allister
  • Danns and Koumas to make full debut, Gakpo experience figure up top

That would see the Reds line up like this:

Kelleher; Bradley, Konate, Quansah, Tsimikas; McConnell, Clark, Mac Allister; Koumas, Gakpo, Danns

On the other hand, if the squad situation means more senior figures need to be rested, we could see changes in each department.

Gomez could partner Quansah at the back to rest Van Dijk and Konate entirely, while Mac Allister could give way to Trey Nyoni, who would become the club’s youngster-ever player in the FA Cup at the age of 16 years and 243 days.

The teenager has been impressive at academy level since joining the club in the summer, and while Klopp may be more tempted to try and include him off the bench on debut, his hands might be tied.

Kaide Gordon, who was left out of the League Cup final squad, could be in line for his third outing of the season:

  • Quansah and Gomez to make up the centre-back pairing
  • A young midfield of McConnell, Clark and Nyoni – average age 18
  • Gordon to start on the right wing, joins Gakpo and Danns

Those tweaks would see Liverpool take to the field like this:

Kelleher; Bradley, Quansah, Gomez, Tsimikas; McConnell, Nyoni, Clark; Gordon, Gakpo, Danns

Southampton are in the fight from automatic promotion from the Championship this season so they should not be taken lightly, though their focus could similarly remain on league exploits.

There’s a lot of confidence and belief in the Liverpool dressing room and Klopp spoke of his desire to see the crowd reflect that once again at Anfield.

The manager will hope he can include Salah, Nunez and Szoboszlai to give them minutes off the bench ahead of Sunday’s league game – the squad will otherwise be closer to an academy side than the first-team.