Venue: Anfield, Liverpool Date: 26/01/2016
Timings: 7:45 PM GMT / 2:45 PM EST
Television coverage: Sky Sports 1/HD (UK),beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A., beIN Sports USA (USA)
While the three points from the victory over Norwich are fantastic since they moved Liverpool up to 7th place, Jurgen Klopp has more than a few problems to fix. The defense has been very inconsistent lately and set pieces on both ends of the pitch continue to be a problem. Up next the team faces Stoke City in the second leg of the Capital One Cup. Klopp may decide to field a strong side to try to get them in form while also trying to reach Wembley in search for his first trophy.
As Simon Mignolet continues to start in goal for the Reds, fans continue to wonder why the team signed him to a long-term contract. If he puts in a few good performances before the end of the season, he might discourage Klopp from searching for a replacement but it really wouldn’t hurt to scout a few candidates.
Nathaniel Clyne remains Liverpool’s most consistent defender but even he can only do so much to prevent the opponents from scoring. He is becoming a better offensive outlet and everyone of the defensive line should follow his example of decent performances every week.
Dejan Lovren might be healthy enough to start and he should be extra motivated to play well especially since he had to leave the first leg early because he got injured. Despite the number of goals the team allowed against Norwich, Mamadou Sakho seems to be back in form after struggling a bit after his own injury issues. Tiago Ilori and Kolo Toure are the other candidates for the positions.
The common trait that both Liverpool left-backs, Alberto Moreno and Brad Smith share is that while they are great in attack, they are not the best defenders. Moreno could become a better player if Benteke started instead of Firmino since his crosses will have a target but that should not prevent him from defending better and more physically.
The midfield should be the strength of Liverpool and it will be up to Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Joe Allen to make that true. Can and Henderson need to lead the team by example and their passing should be better since they are arguably the best in the team.
Jordon Ibe’s chances are running out, needs to show more desire if he is to remain a starter under Klopp. While he is still very young, there doesn’t seem to be any improvement over the player that he was when the season started.
Klopp could be looking to ride the form that Roberto Firmino is on and give him another start but it would not be surprising to see Christian Benteke on the field when they kickoff. The Stoke defense has been beatable this season but the inconsistency of the Liverpool attack could make the score much closer than it really should be. Either forward should have a few chances to score, it’s just a matter of whether they can take advantage of those opportunities.
Adam Lallana came on late and became the hero after his game winner. He finally got a goal but like many of his teammates, he needs to be more consistent for the team to really improve.
Via – Lineup Builder