Ahead of Sunday’s season opener against Arsenal at the Emirates, Henry Jackson gives us his verdict on who he thinks should make the starting XI.
GK: Simon Mignolet – Unfortunately, Loris Karius’ injury means Mignolet has to play, but I’m concerned about him. An error never feels too far away, and I’m not even convinced about his shot-stopping ability.
RB: Nathaniel Clyne – Clyne is one of the first names on the team-sheet now, and is Liverpool’s most consistent player.
CB: Dejan Lovren – Lovren has come on leaps and bounds, but like Mignolet, you still feel a meltdown is not a million miles away. He should still be back-up to Joel Matip and Mamadou Sakho when they return from injury.
CB: Ragnar Klavan – The Estonian has gone a little under the radar this summer, but has looked really solid. Chances are he will become a squad player once injury problems ease, but for now, he looks a safe pair of hands at the heart of the defence.
LB: Alberto Moreno – With James Milner out, Moreno has to start, unfortunately. The Spaniard is not quite as dreadful as some supporters claim – he does attack well at times, and offers great pace – but defensively he is a shambles. Improve, or be dropped.
CM: Emre Can – Undoubtedly Liverpool’s best central midfielder at present, selecting Can is a no-brainer. Admittedly, he has looked a little leggy in recent matches, but he is too influential to leave out for a game of such importance.
RM: Adam Lallana – Wijnaldum could have started to bring a bit more defensive solidity to the midfield, but Lallana merits being selected. Like Henderson, he splits opinion, but he was superb against Barcelona and the Reds often look more fluent with him in the team. Playing centrally means his slight lack of pace is not exposed.
LM: Jordan Henderson – The Reds’ most divisive player is set for a good season, in my opinion, and he remains very underrated by many. That’s not to say his place in the team is guaranteed, however, but Georginio Wijnaldum doesn’t quite look ready in terms of fitness.
RW: Sadio Mane – What a signing this lad looks! Mane was exceptional against Barcelona, and he gives the Reds something completely different, in terms of speed and getting in behind. The right-sided role is his.
LW: Philippe Coutinho – Arguably Liverpool’s best player, Coutinho has actually had a low-key summer. He is a certainty to start on the left, though, and his match-winning ability could prove to be the difference at the Emirates on Sunday.
ST: Roberto Firmino – Plenty would go with Divock Origi, with Daniel Sturridge out, but Firmino will be a little fitter than the Belgian, having had a whole summer of training and game time behind him. The Brazilian brings something completely different up front, with his intelligence on and off the ball a potentially perfect foil for Lallana, Mane and Coutinho.
Origi can come on and wreak havoc against Arsenal’s weakened defence after 60 minutes.
Written by Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87)