Predicted XI

Jota and Thiago back in – How Liverpool could line up against Leeds

The Reds will get back to league action after being knocked out of the Champions League during the week.

7:41am on Sunday 18th April 2021
Nicholas Hughes

After defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals, Liverpool’s entire focus now falls on reaching the top four within the final seven games of the Premier League season.

The Reds are on a three-game winning streak in the league for the first time since the opening three games of the season, but opponents Leeds United have also won three on the spin, the last of which was against runaway leaders Manchester City.

Jurgen Klopp has no additional injury issues to sweat over when considering his team selection, which should mean the back five remains the same for a seventh consecutive game.

Liverpool: Squad, FC Ratings, Matches, Formations

2020/21 Premier League: Matches, Table, Team Stats, Player Stats

The German hailed Nat Phillips’ “unbelievable” performances in his press conference, with the 24-year-old striking up a solid partnership with January signing Ozan Kabak – the pair have kept five clean sheets in seven games together.

That partnership has given Klopp the added boost of being able to use Fabinho in his natural no.6 position at the base of midfield. The Brazilian has looked right back at home screening the back four and should start again.

Thiago was a surprise omission from both legs of the Champions League tie and has come off the bench in the Reds’ last three games, but the Spaniard should get a start at Elland Road.

Georginio Wijnaldum is one of only two players to play some part in all 31 league games so far and could start again, giving James Milner a rest after his tireless performance against Real at Anfield.

The Reds created a host of opportunities to win the game and the tie on Wednesday night, with the front three continuing their uncharacteristically wayward form.

Despite that, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino should retain their places but Sadio Mane could drop out to accommodate Diogo Jota from the start.

Mane has been the most affected by poor form of the attacking trident, scoring just five times in his last 20 games in all competitions for the club.

He too started the second leg against Madrid and could be due a rest, though Jota himself has gone scoreless in three Liverpool games – almost unheard of in this brilliant debut season of his.

After West Ham’s loss to Newcastle and with Chelsea playing 24 hours later, Liverpool will go into fourth on the table with a win, one point off third-placed Leicester who host West Brom on Thursday.

Liverpool starting XI versus Leeds

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