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Liverpool lineup vs. Sparta Prague – Szobo to start? 1 of 4 dilemmas for Klopp


Jurgen Klopp has big decisions to make for his side’s trip to Sparta Prague as he weighs up injuries, returnees and the small task of Man City‘s visit on the weekend.

The manager will have embraced a few days of rest between games ahead of the Europa League last 16 first leg meeting with Sparta Prague, but his mind would’ve been busy plotting the path.

There is a balance to find in his squad over some of his players needing to rediscover their rhythm and others in desperate need of some time off the pitch.

It makes for an interesting team selection dilemma, so here’s a look at how the Reds could line up in the Czech Republic.


Team news

Liverpool’s travelling squad

Goalkeepers: Kelleher, Adrian, Mrozek

Defenders: Van Dijk, Gomez, Konate, Quansah, Robertson, Tsimikas, Bradley

Midfielders: Endo, Szoboszlai, Mac Allister, Elliott, Clark, McConnell

Forwards: Diaz, Nunez, Salah, Gakpo, Gordon, Koumas, Musialowski


Liverpool’s XI vs. Sparta Prague

LUTON, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 5, 2023: Liverpool's Alexis Mac Allister during the FA Premier League match between Luton Town FC and Liverpool FC at Kenilworth Road. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is not a straightforward lineup to predict for Liverpool this time around, makes for a nice change, as there are so many things for Klopp to juggle.

It would not be a surprise to see Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate play 45 minutes each, affording both players a rest.

Salah will be eager to start but a pre-planned introduction in the second half looks the likeliest outcome, with Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo in contention to make up a strong starting attack.

After only 14 minutes off the bench at Forest, another outing off the bench for Dominik Szoboszlai will be on the cards as Wataru Endo, Alexis Mac Allister and Bobby Clark all start in midfield.

All of this will allow Harvey Elliott and Joe Gomez to have some rest after playing the most minutes over the last four games, and Kostas Tsimikas, meanwhile, can give Andy Robertson a break.

  • Quansah to start next to Van Dijk, who makes way for Konate at HT
  • Tsimikas and Bradley to assume full-back duties
  • Endo and Mac Allister reunited from the start, Clark alongside
  • Diaz, Nunez and Gakpo all start up top

Those selection choices would see the Reds line up like this:

Kelleher; Bradley, Quansah, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Endo, Mac Allister, Clark; Diaz, Nunez, Gakpo

With Mac Allister speaking to the press on the eve of the clash, it is almost a nod to his inclusion in the XI, and he could line up alongside James McConnell and Szoboszlai.

This would freshen up the middle of the park and afford Endo the ability to come on late, perhaps even to replace Szoboszlai when he meets his quota, before a big day on Sunday.

Alternatively, up top, Kaide Gordon could get a look in to allow Cody Gakpo to have a rest, the Dutchman has looked leggy and not at his best.

Other alternatives up top would include Lewis Koumas and Musialowski – surely Klopp gives Elliott a break after playing the most minutes of any Red over the last four matches.

  • McConnell in the No. 6 role, Szoboszlai to return at No. 8
  • Gordon to make his fourth appearance of the season in attack

Those four tweaks have Liverpool setting up as follows:

Kelleher; Bradley, Quansah, Konate, Tsimikas; McConnell, Mac Allister, Szoboszlai; Gordon, Diaz, Nunez

It’s nice to see Klopp at least have some choices again after so many injuries and it would not be a surprise if he either rotated or opted for a nearly full-strength outfit, anything is possible.

He will want his side to have some rhythm heading into Sunday, while, of course, getting a positive result in Prague, but there are a lot of players who will be in the red zone after four games in 11 days.

An interesting contest awaits in Prague, up the Reds!