Liverpool likely and predicted line-up vs West Ham: Klopp's crisis with Virgil van Dijk only fit centre-back

Jurgen Klopp will likely stick with his trusted 4-3-3 formation for Liverpool’s opening Premier League fixture against West Ham on Sunday.

Klopp will probably hand debuts to summer recruits midfielder Naby Keita and keeper Alisson, while another new boy Fabinho is a massive doubt.

The major worry for the Reds is at centre back, where Virgil van Dijk is the only senior defender 100 per cent ready for action.

The Dutchman’s first choice partner Dejan Lovren hasn’t been back in training long enough to hit full fitness, having spent the summer reaching the World Cup final with Croatia.

Jurgen Klopp has decisions to make over his starting XI

Nathaniel Phillips could be drafted in

Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, who are next in line, both returned to training on Thursday after muscle problems and are doubts for the game.

Ragnar Klavan is also definitely unavailable due to a muscle complaint.

Klopp will include youngster Nathaniel Phillips in the squad and could be forced to lean on him if Matip and Gomez are unable to be involved.

The German’s other decision is in midfield with Fabinho unlikely to be risked after illness and Jordan Henderson touch and go whether he starts, having recently returned from England duty.

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Klopp said: “Hendo is full of power but hasn’t been back long. It’s Hendo though, you always think about him.”

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Experienced James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum, who has excelled in pre-season, could team up in midfield, alongside Keita.

Nathaniel Clyne is set to start ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold after his World Cup holiday, while first choices Andy Robertson, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are all available and almost certain to start.

Liverpool likely XI: Alisson; Clyne, van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson; Milner, Keita, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane


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