Liverpool to turn to fringe players as Klopp shuffles pack for Midtjylland test

Tuesday’s Champions League visit of Denmark’s FC Midtjylland is set to see Jurgen Klopp continue with his recent policy of chopping and changing his Premier League champions.

It was Diogo Jota who came in from the fringes to make a somewhat surprising start in Saturday’s Premier League clash at home to Sheffield United, in which the Portuguese forward rewarded his manager by scoring the winning goal.

It could be that Jota’s place alongside the club’s famed front three is retained for the weekend’s clash at home to West Ham, but in Europe Klopp seems determined to keep any opposition guessing when it comes to who he fields on the pitch.

It was only last week in Amsterdam, after all, that the Reds boss withdrew Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah on the hour mark with his side just 1-0 up, replacing them with Jota, Takumi Minamino and Xherdan Shaqiri, with several bemused looks accompanying the switches.

Shaqiri could make a rare Liverpool start

With Jota having been given his chance against the Blades, Minamino and Shaqiri will be desperate for a start here as they seek out valuable minutes.

Minamino hasn’t started a game since the Carabao Cup clash with Arsenal on October 1, while Shaqiri has only lined up from the beginning of one Liverpool game since the Club World Cup semi-final last December.

Injury issues have been hampering the Swiss virtually ever since then, but he was lively in Amsterdam and may have done enough to convince Klopp to give him a go.

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Minamino is another who could come in

Indeed, Shaqiri’s place as the squad’s overlooked player is in danger of being taken by Divock Origi, whose only two appearances this so far this season have come in the Carabao Cup.

The Belgian loves the Champions League though, and Klopp might see this as the perfect chance to give him a game.

None of Saturday’s absentees Joel Matip, Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita appear to be ready to feature according to Klopp, opening up the possibility of more rotation in defence and midfield.

Klopp oversaw Liverpool training on Monday

Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams – a late sub in Amsterdam – will be desperate for a start at centre-back, although Klopp might see the game as the perfect chance for Fabinho and Joe Gomez to continue what has become an important relationship.

In midfield, both Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum played 90 minutes on Saturday, meaning that James Milner and Curtis Jones could be drafted back in after starting the Ajax game.

Neco Williams could also earn a start if Klopp wants to give Trent Alexander-Arnold a rest.

Alisson is back ahead of schedule

Liverpool are keen to repeat last season’s success – and you don’t want to miss a thing, surely?

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It’s been an extremely interesting start to the season for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

They got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds, before going on to conceded seven in a hammering by Aston Villa.

Virgil van Dijk’s season was ended by injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton, leaving the title favourites looking far less secure at the back – especially with Alisson’s injury worries too.

But there’s no slowing down in what is going to be a busy campaign – with Klopp ensuring his men continue at full pace as they bid for more title glory.

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One player who is certain to begin the game is goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who returned from a shoulder injury ahead of schedule against Sheffield United.

“As soon as the doctor said it was four to six weeks, I said ‘no doc we go two to three maximum!’ and he agrees with me and we go for it,” said Alisson.

“I have the top physios on my side, helping me to accelerate the recovery weeks, and I need to thank them, the fitness staff the doctors and the goalie coaches who help me.”

How far will Liverpool go in the Champions League? Have your say in the comments below

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