Liverpool will take to the field on Wednesday to face Russian champions Spartak Moscow in a must-not-lose Champions League match. In his press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Jurgen Klopp described the match as ‘THE game’ which tells us all we need to know about how strong his starting line up will be.
Despite all of the recent optimism around the club, we cannot forget that an unlikely defeat on Wednesday and a subsequent exit from the Champions League would spell a massive crisis for the Reds.
Predicted elevens are becoming very hard to do of late, given we have no idea what formation Jurgen will opt for, which can only be a good thing as it keeps the opposing manager guessing.
In his press conference, Klopp confirmed that Adam Lallana and Joel Matip will not be fit for the match and that Joe Gomez was in contention for a start. So with that in mind, let’s have a stab at guessing the line-up:
The German shot-stopper has played all seven games in the competition to date and will start in goal against Spartak.
It was interesting to see how high up Trent and Robertson were in Saturday’s match. A back three certainly helped in that regard but given that Liverpool will expect to dominate the play on Wednesday evening, I expect Trent to start for his attacking threat.
Dejan looked very comfortable in a three at the weekend and although I expect Jurgen to revert to a more conventional four at the back, I see no reason for him to be taken out.
It’s difficult, having watched very little of Spartak Moscow, to predict their approach. If they are going to put ten men behind the ball then we could well see midfielders playing at the back again to counteract that. However, we have to bear in mind that Spartak must win this game to qualify so at some point, they will have to try to score a goal. I think Klopp will start Klavan alongside Lovren.
Rested on Saturday seemingly with this fixture in mind, I think Moreno will regain his place at left-back for this one. The Spaniard has been in good form recently and has recovered admirably from his disaster in Seville.
After some questionable recent performances, Henderson was back to his metronomic best on Saturday. Jurgen is going to pick what he feels is his best team and that, without doubt, includes the captain as the deepest midfielder.
Having played at left centre-back at the weekend, I think Wijnaldum will go back into the centre of midfield on Wednesday evening. Could be a key asset for us especially as the game opens up.
Involved in all five goals at the weekend, Phil is a shoe-in to start in this vital game.
Like Moreno, he was rested at the weekend but he will definitely play against Spartak. While we are no longer as reliant on him as we were last season, I still see him as our most influential player.
The temptation may be there to play Daniel Sturridge in a game where Liverpool could probably afford a luxury man to finish any chances presented to him. However, six goals in seven matches in the Champions League would suggest that Bobby Firmino is suited to the European game and I have no doubt that he will be named on the teamsheet once more.
Salah will complete the dream front four which is bound to give the Moscow side nightmares, especially when they have to win the game, thus opening up space for these guys.