Events off the pitch have certainly been a distraction in the build-up to Liverpool’s first league fixture. The fact that it is against Chelsea too will certainly add a bit of spice to the encounter.
It looks like that manager Jurgen Klopp won’t be able to field his best eleven at Stamford Bridge on Sunday but he could come close.
Alisson will start in goal, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson as the two fullbacks. Ibrahima Konate and new captain Virgil van Dijk are expected to line up in the centre of defence.
The backline has been a cause of concern in pre-season, with the Reds having conceded 11 goals in only 5 friendlies. Some may dismiss the results as they are not competitive matches but the absence of a recognised no.6 in the squad, following the departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, mean the defence is vulnerable.
With Stefan Bajcetic and Thiago having not regained full match fitness either, there is a decent chance that Curtis Jones will anchor the midfield. The 22-year-old did a great job playing as a holding midfielder as England won the European Under 21 Championships earlier this summer, but it is much harder performing the same job in the Premier League.
Summer signings Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai are both available, having started the last friendly against Darmstadt on Monday, so they are likely to be in the eleven this weekend.
A big dilemma for Klopp is who to play up front. Mo Salah is a dead cert to play on the right but the other two positions are up for grabs. Considering the opening day fixture is away from home, Cody Gakpo may be favoured ahead of Darwin Nunez through the middle, with Luis Diaz getting the nod on the left flank.
Liverpool’s Predicted XI To Take On Chelsea
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, van Dijk, Robertson, Szoboszlai, Jones, Mac Allister, Salah, Gakpo, Diaz