With the Anfield crisis on ice for the time being, Liverpool are looking to keep the kettle boiling on their title defence with a win over West Ham.
It won’t be easy with David Moyes’ hard-drilled Irons showing real signs of pulling themselves together, especially with a number of injuries hamstringing Jurgen Klopp’s selection options. Being Liverpool, however, they will be unerringly confident of a positive result.
Here’s the team the German should pick to maximise their chances ahead of another key fixture.
Alisson (GK) – The Brazilian’s return to the team has been like a breath of fresh, yet familiar air. With a back line in front of him that is increasingly depleted and inexperienced, he will need to be at his best week in week out, and West Ham, on current form, will certainly be out to test him.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – In line for his 100th Premier League start, and while Klopp pointed to the differences in his game between his first and his most recent, one thing has remained constant all the way through – his persistent, unswerving attacking threat.
Rhys Williams (CB) – With no Fabinho available to cover Van Dijk’s absence, one starting central defensive berth is up for grabs. Joel Matip exists. but is never fit, and Williams did enough in his substitute appearance against Midtjylland to merit a start.
Joe Gomez (CB) – He may just be 23 but Gomez needs to step up and become Liverpool’s defensive leader while things are stretched at the back. The next few weeks could make him or break him.
Andy Robertson (LB) – Does he ever not start? Robertson’s consistency is unbelievable, and he has more appearances since the start of last season than any other Liverpool player.
Jordan Henderson (CM) – With Liverpool lacking one or two of their big voices on the pitch, as well as some of their more imposing midfield talent, Henderson‘s diligence and decisiveness will be more important than ever – on and off the ball.
Georginio Wijnaldum (CM) – Some say that Wijnaldum is the best ball-retaining midfielder in the Premier League. For ‘some’, read ‘I’.
Roberto Firmino (CAM) – This one comes too soon for Fabinho, Naby Keita or Thiago, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain isn’t match-fit yet. You can see why Klopp, then, has ventured away from a 4-3-3 over the past week, and Firmino’s ability to play in a more traditional number ten role facilitates that. He broke his goalscoring duck with the equaliser last weekend.
Diogo Jota (RW) – Risky, substantial signings that quickly pay off have become one of the hallmarks of the Klopp-Edwards Recruitment Dream Team and it’s fast beginning to seem like Jota is another. He has already shown he has a knack for scoring important goals – so much so that Klopp is willing to break up his feared front three to squeeze him in.
Mohamed Salah (CF) – By deploying him at centre-forward, Liverpool might just be able to squeeze an extra couple of years out of Salah at the back end. He has the physicality and predatory instincts to play there anyway – what a great option that is for Klopp to have.
Sadio Mané (LW) – Show me a person who dislikes Sadio Mané and I’ll show you a liar. He is one of the most easy-going personalities in football, but has a ruthless streak in the final third that makes him absolutely vital to the Liverpool team.