Mohamed Salah and Ibrahima Konate will return when Liverpool and Villarreal face off in the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg.
Liverpool will hope to seal a safe passage through to the UEFA Champions League final when they lock horns with Villarreal at Estadio de la Ceramica in the semi-final second leg on Tuesday night. And Jurgen Klopp has a near full-strength squad at his disposal ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Roberto Firmino has travelled with the Liverpool squad to Spain, while Divock Origi has recovered from a stomach bug to be available to take on Villarreal. But Firmino is still not fit enough to be involved in a match, as Klopp revealed in his pre-match press conference.
The Liverpool boss said, “He was running today again, will travel with us but will not be involved in the squad yet. But we hope sooner rather than later. We had the issues with a stomach bug [with Origi] – they are all back. I think that’s it. No concerns.”
Despite Firmino’s unavailability, Klopp has enough resources at his disposal to name a strong offensive unit against Villarreal. And Mohamed Salah should replace Diogo Jota to start on the right-wing after getting some rest this past weekend against Newcastle United. Salah will line up alongside Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane in the final third.
As for the midfield unit, Naby Keita’s impressive performance could earn him a start ahead of Jordan Henderson against Villarreal. Klopp reserved special praise for the Guinean midfielder while asserting that he is a “very good option” in the Liverpool midfield unit.
Klopp said, “The player was never in doubt, not for a second, because he’s outstanding. It’s good he is now available. It’s a good option, a very good option to have. Played at the weekend obviously a really good game, so we’ll see how long we will use him tomorrow. A very good option.”
Keita should be the only player to retain his spot in the middle of the park, with Henderson and James Milner dropping to the bench. Henderson will make way for Fabinho, who will reprise the anchor role at the base of the Liverpool midfield, while Thiago Alcantara will come in for Milner.
As for the defensive unit, Trent Alexander-Arnold is a shoo-in for the right-back berth after earning a rest last weekend. Ibrahima Konate will replace Joel Matip as Virgil van Dijk’s partner at the heart of the Liverpool defence, while Andrew Robertson will retain his spot on the left flank. Alisson Becker is an automatic pick between the sticks.
Predicted Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, van Dijk, Robertson; Keita, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Diaz