Liverpool v Palace line-ups – Elliott and Keita decision looming

Keita-Henderson-Elliott

With another injury added to an unwanted list, Jurgen Klopp has an interesting decision to make in midfield as Liverpool return to Anfield to face Crystal Palace.

The Reds didn’t get off to the start they had hoped for, with a buoyant Fulham leaving Liverpool grateful they at least left Craven Cottage with a point.

It leaves Klopp’s side with a lot to prove in their first home game of the season and the manager will need to make at least one, if not a few, changes to his XI.

Thiago’s hamstring strain, which will keep him sidelined for at least a month, requires someone to step into his slot and Joel Matip is considered a doubt to continue a poor run with injuries.

There will also be a decision to make in attack between Roberto Firmino and Darwin Nunez, so how might Klopp set his side up against Palace?

Team news

The manager delivered injury news we didn’t want to hear, but offered a welcome fitness boost to two of his players:

  • Thiago injury ‘not good’, Klopp ‘would prefer four’ weeks to six
  • Keita available after missing trip to Fulham through illness
  • Tsimikas “might be back” after returning to practice on Friday
  • Matip is a doubt after missing Friday’s session with a ‘groin problem’
  • Kelleher, Konate, Ramsay, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jota all sidelined

Liverpool XI vs Palace

Thiago’s absence is an unwelcome and untimely blow and leaves Klopp with a decision to make in midfield, either a direct swap or a mix-up.

Naby Keita, James Milner, Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho should be considered, but the left midfielder role favors the first two mentioned.

Joel Matip’s fitness doubt could still force another change, while the Firmino or Núñez dilemma must be considered once again after the Uruguayan’s game-changing appearance from the bench.

A change in each department could then be expected:

  • Alisson continues in goal, looking for his first clean sheet
  • If Matip is not risked/available, Joe Gomez will partner Virgil van Dijk
  • Milner awarded a place in midfield alongside Fabinho and Henderson
  • Núñez to overtake Firmino, with Mo Salah and Luis Díaz alongside

Here’s how the Reds could line up in their first league game at Anfield:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Milner; Salah, Díaz, Núñez


Alternatively, more shuffling in the midfield department could see Harvey Elliott given his chance in the XI in place of the captain.

The 19-year-old was lively in his cameo at Craven Cottage and his position as a right-back No.8 could see Henderson drop to the bench, with Fabinho and Keita filling the rest of midfield.

If Matip misses the game or Liverpool opt for caution, Joe Gomez’s place is guaranteed in defense and with these changes in mind, Klopp could refrain from including Nunez from the start.

These tweaks would see Liverpool take to the field with:

  • Elliott takes over from Henderson on the right of midfield
  • Keita to take Thiago’s vacant place
  • And Firmino leads the attack, with Núñez an option from the bench

This XI would look like this:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Elliott, Keita; Salah, Diaz, Firmino


Klopp is somewhat restricted in his choices and much of his XI is self-picked, but all eyes will be on the midfield when the squad news is released.

Carvalho is also another option to consider, but it could be that Klopp could look to make just the two forced changes from the trip to Fulham, if Matip fails to prove his fitness.

That would keep Henderson in the starting line-up, as well as Firmino, but the option of using five substitutions over the course of 90 minutes keeps Klopp’s options open throughout.

The nine-day break will give the Reds time to reset and recharge their batteries once more, although Anfield will certainly give them plenty of spark on the return leg.

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