Predicted XI

How Liverpool and Chelsea could line up in the Premier League

There's a huge midweek clash in the top flight on Thursday as Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel's sides face off at Anfield

 
10:28am on Wednesday 3rd March 2021
By
Martin Macdonald

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will be able to call upon the services of number one goalkeeper Alisson for his side's Premier League showdown with Chelsea on Thursday.

The Brazilian stopper missed the Sheffield United game at the weekend following the tragic passing of his father, but has returned to England and is in contention to be put back into the starting XI, with Adrian set to drop to the bench.

Fabinho hasn't played since the start of February but has returned to full training and should be free to start this one. Klopp must decide whether he'll want to utilise him in defence or midfield, though, and it will likely be the former as he as impressed in that position in his deputising role.

Nathaniel Phillips will probably make way for him.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Ozan Kabak, and Andy Robertson will therefore make up the back four.

Naby Keita made an appearance off the bench against Sheffield Utd but is unlikely to break into the midfield trio of Thiago, Curtis Jones, and Gini Wijnaldum to start.

Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane should start together again, but Liverpool have been boosted by the return of Diogo Jota, who could make an appearance off the bench.

Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, and Jordan Henderson are all injured.

For Chelsea, there were fitness concerns over Callum Hudson-Odoi after he was withdrawn at half-time in the draw against Man Utd at the weekend.

He was spotted with an ice pack around his thigh area, but has taken part in full training this week and should be available to play after shaking off whatever issue led to his substitution on Sunday.

Thiago Silva has returned to training, too, but Thursday might be a bit early for a starting XI comeback.

Chelsea have a clean bill of health apart from the Brazilian so will start with a back three of Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, and Antonio Rudiger.

If fit, Hudson-Odoi will start at right wing-back, with Ben Chilwell on the left.

Marcos Alonso is pressing for a start, but the England international may be kept in on that side to deal with the overlapping runs of Alexander-Arnold.

Mateo Kovacic and N'Golo Kante should retain their positions in central midfield, though Jorginho is in with a strong shout, too.

Tammy Abraham was left out of the squad entirely for the Man Utd fixture so it will be a surprise if he starts, meaning Olivier Giroud will likely continue up top.

Timo Werner should return, though, probably at the expense of Hakim Ziyech.

Mason Mount will play in the other role behind Giroud.

Predicted line-ups: Liverpool v Chelsea

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