After a difficult 2020-21 season, things have been going about as well as they could be for Liverpool this term.
The Reds are second in the Premier League table, just a point behind league leaders Chelsea, after going unbeaten through their first eight matches.
They also boast a perfect record in Europe, where victories over AC Milan, Porto and Atletico Madrid have left them on the verge of the Champions League knockout stages.
This weekend will see Jurgen Klopp’s team face a big test, though, with a trip to face a Manchester United side who finished above the Merseyside club in last season’s Premier League.
Klopp has been forced to make some big selection calls already this season, and the same will apply on Sunday.
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Liverpool started with a midfield three of Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and James Milner for their win in Madrid, with Fabinho replacing Keita for the second half.
Henderson and Fabinho are both expected to make Klopp’s starting line-up on Sunday, which leaves one spot vacant.
However, there’s a new name in the mix, leaving the manager with four candidates for just one remaining place in the side.
Klopp revealed in his pre-match press conference that Curtis Jones is back in contention to feature, after the 20-year-old returned to training during the week.
Jones was injured on international duty for England’s under-21 side, missing the matches against Watford and Atletico Madrid as a result and further depleting a Reds midfield already missing long-term injury victim Harvey Elliott.
Sunday’s match comes too early for Thiago Alcantara, though, but Klopp revealed the Spain midfielder may be available before the next international break.
Jones could find himself brought back into the starting XI ahead of Milner and Keita, with the latter defended by the Liverpool manager after his early withdrawal on Wednesday.
“[Keita] is in really good shape, but he played three games for Guinea there and the last Premier League game 90 minutes and then today,” Klopp said.
The fourth midfield option is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who hasn’t started a league game since the opening weekend of the season but came on for the final half hour in Madrid and may feel he warrants an opportunity from the start.
Liverpool have a busy schedule after the Manchester United game, so Klopp may end up rotating his squad over the coming weeks.
They are due to travel to Preston North End in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup in midweek, followed by back-to-back home games against Brighton & Hove Albion and Atletico Madrid.
The Reds’ final outing before the next international break in November will see them travel down to London to face West Ham United.
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