Despite the best attempts of the ongoing pandemic to thwart it, the Champions League returns this week, albeit still in a world of no fans and neutral venues.
Liverpool travel to Hungary’s Puskas Arena for a first leg clash with Bundesliga side RB Leipzig on Tuesday evening. On one hand, trying to recapture form while being thrust back into competition with some of Europe’s strongest sides seems like a continuation of their current nightmare. On the other, the fixture presents the Reds with the perfect opportunity to rebuild some much lacking confidence with a win.
For all the hype about Leipzig and all the ridiculing of Liverpool as of late, Jurgen Klopp’s side should see themselves as favourites and must back themselves to get past the German side.
Here’s who could feature for Liverpool.
Alisson (GK) – The Brazilian is shot for confidence, but relegating him to the bench would only harm him further. He’ll find his way out of the rut – just no more trying to roundhouse kick your defenders, please.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – It’s been an inconsistent season for Alexander-Arnold, but his attacking qualities down the right flank will be key in undoing a Leipzig side who have already struggled defensively in the competition group stages.
Ozan Kabak (CB) – Nobody said it would be easy, kid. With Liverpool down on defensive numbers, Kabak must quickly dust off the Leicester defeat and show some grit.
Jordan Henderson (CB) – There is an argument to suggest that throwing in Nathaniel Phillips should be considered, purely to push Jordan Henderson back into midfield. It’s not happening, though.
Andy Robertson (LB) – One of the Reds’ better and more consistent performers this season. Robertson is the calm head at the back and, like Trent, could enjoy a productive game in attack.
Georginio Wijnaldum (CM) – The 30-year-old isn’t the most favoured name currently with contract negotiations dragging on but, with Henderson in defence, he keeps his spot.
Thiago (CM) – He has come under fire for his lack of impact since becoming a regular fixture in the, but there is no doubting the ability of Thiago. It might take the European stage to give him the kick start he needs.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (CM) – Liverpool are in dire need of some fresh legs and hunger, thus Oxlade-Chamberlain deserves the shout. The Englishman could stake his claim in a tough period.
Mohamed Salah (RW) – One of few Liverpool players enjoying a return to form as of late. Salah has scored in his last two league games and cannot afford to drop the ball in this one.
Roberto Firmino (ST) – Could’ve perhaps been rotated by now with Takumi Minamino had they not loaned him out to Southampton. Competition for places is key.
Sadio Mane (LW) – Decent in fleeting moments against Leicester in the Premier League, but you would back a player as good as Mane to bounce back when needed.