Jurgen Klopp reviews Wolves
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp could ring the changes for the start of their Europa League campaign in Austria this week. The Reds have started the new Premier League season strongly but turn their attentions to European football on Thursday night (5.45pm).
They are back in the Europa League for the first time since 2016-17 and will face LASK, the Austrian Bundesliga’s third-placed team, in their Group E opener. Liverpool will be hoping to get off to a strong start in the competition before back-to-back home matches against Union Saint-Gilloise and Toulouse.
As many as eight players who started Saturday’s win over Wolves could drop out of the starting eleven. In goal, Caoimhin Kelleher is almost a certainty to replace Alisson for his first appearance of the season.
And there could be two changes to the back four, with Jarell Quansah perhaps the only man to keep his place. He made his first start at Molineux and impressed. He could be joined by the returning Virgil van Dijk who has missed the last two matches due to suspension.
The captain may start this one to ensure he is match-fit for this Sunday’s visit of West Ham to Anfield. At right-back Joe Gomez may keep his place with no other natural alternatives, but Kostas Tsimikas should get minutes over Andy Robertson on the left-hand side.
There could be a completely new midfield trio. Alexis Mac Allister only played 45 minutes at the weekend but this could be a good match for Wataru Endo to replace him as the No 6. Thiago Alcantara is still unavailable.
Harvey Elliott warrants a start after several impressive displays from the substitutes’ bench. But he may actually come into the front three in place of Mohamed Salah. The goal-hungry Egyptian may be pushing for a start to boost his numbers but Klopp would surely prefer to give him some rest.
Teenager Stefan Bajcetic could then replace Dominik Szoboslai on the right side of the midfield trio for his first minutes of the campaign. Curtis Jones might be displaced by Ryan Gravenberch, who made his debut at the weekend but only as a late sub.
In attack, Diogo Jota struggled at former club Wolves and should get a chance to find some more rhythm against LASK. Darwin Nunez was livelier than Cody Gakpo at Molineux and might be fancied to complete the line-up and cause some chaos in Linz.
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Klopp said after the Europa League draw was made: “They [the three opponents] have our full respect. I am looking really forward to the Europa League and didn’t play it that often in my life and that’s why it makes it even more special.
“They will be good, they will be challenging. Everybody wants to beat us. We have to be ready. If we want to go far in the competition, we have to be really greedy in all these games and it’s my job to make sure that we are.”
Potential Liverpool XI vs LASK: Kelleher; Gomez*, Van Dijk, Quansah*, Tsimikas; Endo, Gravenberch, Bajcetic; Elliott, Nunez, Jota*
Potential bench: Pitaluga, Jaros; Konate, Matip, Scanlon; Mac Allister, Jones, Clark; Diaz, Salah, Doak, Gakpo
Left out: Alisson, Robertson, Alexander-Arnold (injured), Thiago (injured)
(* = Players who also started vs Wolves)
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