Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp could be tempted to shake things up ahead of next week’s important opening Champions League game against Napoli.
The match on Tuesday night is the Reds’ hardest match of the group stage, playing away at the San Paolo stadium where they lost 1-0 last season. With that being the case, you wouldn’t put it past Klopp to use the Newcastle game as an opportunity for some rotation.
I doubt that we’ll see many changes at the back. Alisson is expected to return after the next international break so Adrian will continue in goal. Klopp could use this match to give Joe Gomez an opportunity but he may be held back until the Napoli game where he could start ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold.
It’s very likely, therefore, that Liverpool will line up with the same back four as they did against Burnley, with Trent, Matip, van Dijk and Robertson all having performed well at Turf Moor.
Naby Keita isn’t fit enough to feature so the likeliest change will be Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or James Milner coming into the eleven. Jordan Henderson played the full the 90 minutes for England against Kosovo on Tuesday and could be rested ahead of Napoli.
Milner would be the logical replacement but Oxlade-Chamberlain would offer a more attacking threat through the middle; something they will need against a tightly packed Newcastle defence.
My guess is Klopp will go with Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum and the Ox for tomorrow, although Milner could well replace Wijnaldum if the Reds boss wants to shake things up further.
Roberto Firmino played in Brazil in a friendly against Peru on Wednesday night. He would likely have had just one training session today, and a change in the makeup of the frontline is expected.
Divock Origi would be the likeliest candidate but Xherdan Shaqiri decided against accepting a call up for Switzerland to focus purely on his club. Klopp may well reward his dedication with a start on the right-wing. That would mean that Mohamed Salah moves centrally with Sadio Mane starting on the left-wing.
Making so many changes could risk Liverpool being disjointed, and against a well-drilled defence, it could lead to a difficult match against the Magpies. Even so, I think Klopp will rotate with so many games coming thick and fast before the next international break. Especially with Napoli and then Chelsea coming up, this is the time to use the squad.
Liverpool’s Predicted XI To Face Newcastle:
Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri, Salah, Mane