As we approach the beginning of 2023/24, Jurgen Klopp‘s team selections could start to offer more insight into what we are likely to see when the real business starts.
The Reds take on Leicester in their third friendly of the summer as the squad ramp up preparations for a big season ahead, with the manager revealing earlier in the week that he will not be selecting different teams in each half as he had done in Germany.
It means that the starting 11 against the Foxes could more closely resemble the team that starts when things get underway at Stamford Bridge on August 13.
With that in mind, we are taking a look at some of the permutations and potential selection headaches Klopp will be faced with as he prepares his side for the first fixture in Singapore.
Liverpool’s 27-man squad in Singapore
Defenders: Gomez, Van Dijk, Konate, Matip, Quansah, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Tsimikas, Scanlon
Midfielders: Szoboszlai, Mac Allister, Jones, Elliott, Clark, McConnell, Frauendorf
Forwards: Diaz, Nunez, Salah, Gakpo, Jota, Doak, Koumas
Possible XIs vs. Leicester
Pre-season is typically used for fitness and experimentation, but the manager will no doubt have one eye on the trip to Chelsea in just two weeks’ time.
The midfield continues to provide him with a dilemma with Jordan Henderson and Fabinho both Saudi Arabia bound and no further incomings yet confirmed, so the team could still look somewhat makeshift in the middle.
It could simply be that Klopp has looked to spread the minutes around so far, but Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota have also been paired together in both games, with the former being deployed in a deeper role.
It is still something of a guessing game at this point, but the Reds could look something like this from the start:
- Salah and Nunez to get the nod at the top of the pitch, with Luis Diaz playing on the left
- Trent Alexander-Arnold to return to the hybrid role in the absence of Conor Bradley
- Gakpo to continue in midfield, in part enforced by a lack of options
This would mean the Reds would shape up along these lines:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Jones, Mac Allister, Gakpo; Salah, Diaz, Nunez
It is, of course, still very early days and there is every chance the manager will want to take a look at a couple of things before the season gets underway.
There will naturally be changes throughout the game, but there are a number of tweaks Klopp can make across the pitch for the first whistle.
Dominik Szoboszlai has travelled with the squad and was said to have only sat out of the Greuther Furth clash as a precaution, so he could well be introduced from the start in this one.
With Liverpool’s defensive midfield options still limited, Klopp may wish to take a look at Mac Allister’s ability to operate in the No. 6 position, assisted by Alexander-Arnold in the hybrid role.
An alternative lineup could look more like this:
- Szoboszlai to make a return to the side alongside Harvey Elliott in midfield
- Gakpo to lead the line up front, with Jota alongside him on the left
- Mac Allister to sit in front on the back four with the support of Alexander-Arnold
Here’s how that would look:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Mac Allister, Elliott, Szoboszlai; Salah, Jota, Gakpo
There may also be opportunities for youth throughout the meeting, with Ben Doak and Lewis Koumas among those to have impressed for the Reds in Germany.
Plenty of football and hard work on the training pitch separates Liverpool from the opening day of the Premier League, but it will be interesting to see how the side looks as he get closer to the start.
Let’s hope we see a positive performance and some good signs to take with us to Stamford Bridge!