Prior to their season opener at Fulham, Jurgen Klopp may face a significant selection challenge. However, he has five preseason friendlies to enable him make up his mind before August 6.
Jurgen Klopp searches for answer to lingering Liverpool question
The first-choice starting lineup for Liverpool has essentially not changed over the past three years.
Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Virgil van Djik, and Mohamed Salah have all been dependable members of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team for a number of seasons.
Sadio Mane was a regular on the wings or in the middle, but he has made the decision to leave for greener pastures and join Bayern Munich.
If all seven of those players are healthy and available, they will likely start Liverpool’s season-opening game against Fulham, leaving four spots free.
Luis Diaz will play on the left, leaving Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota to compete for the central striker position. Harvey Elliot and Naby Keita are also in the running for the final midfielder position.
The second center-back position beside Van Djik, on the other hand, is one where there is a lot of competition.
In that area, Liverpool may have three good players to choose from, and Klopp will have a difficult time deciding who to start when they travel to Craven Cottage. However, all three players will undoubtedly contribute during the season.
With 31 starts and three goals in the Premier League, Joel Matip was Klopp’s first choice. In the second half of the season, from the 1-0 loss against Leicester City in December until the end of the campaign, he also contributed three assists and was crucial to the Reds’ lengthy unbeaten run.
Ibrahima Konate, meantime, excelled in the Champions League, particularly during the knockout rounds when he got his chance to play.
He entered the game for the 2-0 triumph against Porto and started all but one of their subsequent European games, including the championship match against Real Madrid.
Joe Gomez, another outstanding center back who will undoubtedly compete for a spot in the first squad, has made just 10 starts across all competitions.
For a player of Gomez’s caliber and ability, that is a minimal number given that the Reds participated in every game last season—62 in total.
Gomez signed a new five-year contract with Liverpool, committing his long-term career to the club, keeping him there until 2027, despite his limited playing time.
After signing that contract, Klopp praised the 25-year-old right away, giving the impression that he is firmly in his plans for the upcoming season.
One of Joe’s many beautiful qualities, he remarked, is that he is young yet experienced, which is a good combination.
Although he hasn’t yet turned 25, he was a member of the team when I first joined, and I believe he is our longest-serving player after Hendo and Millie. Incredible.
“But the best part is that he still has years ahead of him when he will be at his best, and I couldn’t be happier that this will happen with us. In terms of the present, Joe is in fantastic form.
We had a few weeks off, and when I got back to AXA, I saw him. My initial reaction was, “Wow!” He is in such fantastic shape physically; all he needs now is a successful preseason and the routine that follows.
Gomez might struggle to get into games this season as Matip and Konate are both in excellent shape. There have been signs that Klopp may play with a back-three, with Matip and Van Djik positioned between Gomez and Konate on the right side to cover Alexander-Arnold when he moves forward.
Although Klopp does have this option, it is more likely that he will remain with the 4-3-3 formation, which will leave just one spot open as Van Djik is expected to start practically every game. Last season, Gomez in particular suffered the most.
He even filled in at right-back for Alexander-Arnold when he was absent due to injury or incapacity.