Liverpool play already relegated Middlesbrough at Anfield on Sunday knowing that their Champions League qualification hopes are in their own hands. After such an amazing victory against West Ham last week I’d be surprised if Klopp didn’t select an unchanged starting XI for Sunday’s make-or-break clash with Middlesbrough, as he seeks to seal a top-four finish. One last big effort from all at Anfield is needed to get over the line.
Think of all those gruelling games, victories we’ve thrown away at the last minute, struggles against clubs lower in the league – one final 90 minutes is what it’s come to. The sad reality is that failure to beat Middlesbrough could allow Arsenal the chance to climb into 4th place and get the final Champions League spot.
Starting XI 4-3-1-2
No messing around this time, Jurgen Klopp has to put out his strongest available lineup:
Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Wijnaldum, Can, Coutinho; Lallana; Origi, Sturridge.
After recapturing both the number one jersey and his form in recent months, Mignolet has to continue his stint in goal. Sadly the defence picks itself, whilst this adds stability it’s also a sign of lack of depth atvthe back – something that will change in the summer!
Midfield is where it gets all so very exciting, whilst we don’t have a lot of options, those available to select offer something special, all capable of winning the game themselves! The diamond midfield formation in last week’s victory over West Ham was sensational. Klopp has to adopt this strategy again.
Can will continue to hold down the fort in front of Liverpool’s defence, and allow the tireless Georginio Wijnaldum and creative pair Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana to support the two strikers up top.
Having a strike partner working alongside Sturridge allows him the space to really influence the game, picking up little pockets and gaps where he can cause damage. The duo combined well at West Ham last time out and bagged a goal each in the super 4-0 triumph in London, and Klopp will task them with finding the goals to fire Liverpool into next season’s Champions League.
Klopp will have Lucas and possibly a fully recovered Firmino back—and the extra flexibility provided by the latter’s return in particular offers the chance to revert to 4-3-3. However the switch back could be deemed risky, or even needless, given last week’s display—and especially considering how Liverpool were much more comfortable in a shape non-reliant on wide threat.
I would love to see Klopp start the game as we finished last week – full throttle, go into a comfortable lead, then switch tactics bringing Firmino and Lucas on to protect.
It’s going to be a very tense 90 minutes, I personally can’t wait!!!
The anticipation of the special champions league music around Anfield is almost too much to bare! It has to happen this year!