Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has several tricky decisions to make when he names his starting XI to face Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has several tricky decisions to make when he names his starting XI to face Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals today. But there are several players almost guaranteed to return after the midweek Champions League draw with Benfica in which the Reds named a much-changed team. Express Sport looks at the likeliest line-up for Liverpool as they look to book their spot in an FA Cup final for the first time in 10 years.
Goalkeeper – Alisson
The last time Liverpool played at Wembley back in February, Caoimhin Kelleher was the hero with the Carabao Cup-winning penalty in the shootout. Unfortunately for the Irishman he’s not played since. That trend will continue here with Klopp having declared this is Alisson’s competition.
The Brazilian made some big saves in the Etihad draw with City a week ago in the league and will make his first ever Wembley appearance for the club here.
Defence – Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson were both rested against Benfica with Joe Gomez and Kostas Tsimikas, the man of the match with two assists, replacing the full-back duo. They will both return here even in spite of Tsimikas’ display.
Klopp’s first big call comes in central defence. Ibrahima Konate has scored in both of his last two appearances, heading in corners home and away against Benfica, and will probably start here. Joel Matip would be starting a third straight match were he to be picked over Konate and Klopp will not want to overload the Cameroonian.
Therefore the in-form Konate, who has more pace than Matip, could partner Virgil van Dijk who did not play a single minute in the Champions League.
Midfielder – Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson
The same midfield trio that faced City in the league is likely to start here. Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara were given only half-an-hour on Wednesday night and so will be sharp.
The second toughest decision is who partners the trio between captain Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita. Henderson was withdrawn for Fabinho on the hour mark so should also be fresh enough.
Keita is a more attack-minded alternative to the skipper but lasted the full 90 at Anfield, so is perhaps more likely to face Manchester United on Tuesday night.
Attack – Mane, Firmino, Salah
And Klopp will have two tough calls in the front three. The 28-goal Mohamed Salah is the one guaranteed starter
Diogo Jota sustained a knock in midweek and while Klopp expects the Portuguese forward to be fine, Roberto Firmino could start through the middle here. Liverpool struggled to live with the intensity of City in the first half last week and missed the composure and fluency that Firmino, who scored a brace in Europe, helps provide.
And Liverpool could give their traditional front three a run-out with Mohamed Salah returning to the XI as he searches for a first open-play goal since February 19. Sadio Mane provided a brilliant finish last week and should start again with Luis Diaz and Jota strong options off the bench.
Expected Liverpool XI vs Man City in full: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson; Mane, Firmino, Salah