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Liverpool lineup vs. Leicester – No Firmino but still a big decision in attack



Liverpool lineup vs. Leicester – No Firmino but still a big decision in attack

Leicester are next for the much-improved Liverpool as they look to make it seven straight wins, to keep the pressure on Newcastle and Man United.

The Reds won the reverse fixture 2-1 courtesy of two own goals from Foxes defender Wout Faes, but the hosts have won five of the last eight meetings at the King Power Stadium.

Form is on Liverpool’s side while Leicester battle for their lives at the foot of the table, and could be vital for either manager.

After using the nine-day gap between fixtures for a break in Barcelona, the players are well-rested so fans can expect a full-strength Liverpool side on Monday evening.

Here’s how Liverpool could line up.

Team news

Here is the manager’s update from his pre-match press conference on Friday morning:

Roberto Firmino is “nearly there” but will not feature vs. Leicester

Naby Keita is a confirmed “no” from the manager, for this one

Liverpool’s XI vs. Leicester

Following a run of six games in 28 days that ended at home to Brentford, Klopp has the luxury of a welcome break prior to the Leicester trip.

Cody Gakpo was dropped into midfield by the manager in Liverpool’s last outing, at Anfield, but is likely to return to the front of the pack on Monday night.

Curtis Jones has made the left central midfield spot his own during the Reds’ winning run and there is no reason for that not to continue against the Foxes.

Darwin Nunez enjoyed back-to-back starts prior to the mini-break but failed to impress, and looks the most likely of the fully fit forwards to miss out, on this occasion.

This is how the Reds could shape up:

Jordan Henderson joins Jones and Fabinho in midfield

Gakpo operates in the false nine role

Diogo Jota plays wide left instead of Luis Diaz

If that is the case, Liverpool would line up as follows:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Jones; Salah, Gakpo, Jota

Despite the break, there are still alternatives for the boss should he opt to shuffle the pack.

Gakpo’s trial in midfield against Brentford could be replicated, allowing Klopp to field four of his main forwards against the relegation-threatened hosts.

Having started just one of Liverpool’s last eight matches, Harvey Elliott will also be keen to regain his place but would be less likely to start if Gakpo were to play in midfield.

With this in mind, we could see something like this instead:

Henderson to partner Fabinho in a midfield two, with Gakpo helping out

Nunez playing through the middle

The back four to remain the same

Here’s how this alternate team could look:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dik, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson; Salah, Gakpo, Jota; Nunez

It is a healthy position for Liverpool to have players who will feel they deserve a place but can’t get into the team.

Competition for places is something that helped drive Liverpool on when they were so successful last season, across four competitions.


Jerzy Dudek claims one Liverpool starlet’s nickname ‘tells you everything about his talent’

Jerzy Dudek has heaped praise on one young Liverpool prodigy whose nickname ‘tells you everything about his talent’.

The goalkeeping hero of the 2005 Champions League final gave an interview to the Liverpool Echo in which he singled out compatriot Mateusz Musialowski, who’s been dubbed the ‘Polish Messi’ in some quarters.

The former Reds goalkeeper said of the 19-year-old striker: “I have seen a few bits of him on YouTube and he is a very talented player, very skilful. Little Messi. Let’s hope he’s going to make it.

“He has got great potential, but he needs to stay focused and out of the media. This can always be distracting, but he has smart people around him and the club can help him too.”

Regarding how Musialowski would handle the ‘Polish Messi’ billing, Dudek stated: “It depends on the character of the person. Some players take this as an opportunity to be bigger and they feel better with this nickname.

“I don’t think they are going to take it seriously, they are going to work for their own name in the future. It is always nice if someone can say you are more or like a young Messi, this is a big compliment. It tells you everything about his talent.”

READ MORE: Liverpool player’s reported actions suggest he’s already planning for life after Anfield

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It’s understandable why Dudek is excited about Musialowski’s potential but sounding a word of caution about him not being burdened by the grandiose nickname bestowed upon him.

Whereas other teenagers at Liverpool such as Harvey Elliott and Stefan Bajcetic have broken into the first team, just as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones did before their respective 20th birthdays, the Polish striker has yet to make a competitive senior debut for the Reds (Transfermarkt).

He had an impressive scoring record for the club at under-18 level, netting 18 times in 31 appearances, but he’s only struck four goals in 32 games for the under-21s (Transfermarkt), finding the elder age grade altogether more challenging.

However, Musialowski has shown flickering signs of having something to offer to the first team, having been given a chance by Jurgen Klopp in pre-season last July and also scored a sensational solo goal in an under-18s game against Newcastle two years ago (Liverpool Echo).

Given the abundance of riches in the Reds’ forward line, the teenager will almost certainly need to go out on loan if he’s to have exposure to competitive senior football in the next year or two.

That ought to tell us a lot more about whether the ‘Polish Messi’ could light up Anfield over the coming decade, just as the Argentina legend has done at Barcelona and PSG for a number of years.

📚 EOTK Insider: The two-time gold medalist who is the only man to sign for Liverpool and Everton on two separate occasions

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