Liverpool will be able to welcome back Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez for their Premier League opener against Norwich, but will be without Andy Robertson. Both have returned from long-term injuries and were able to get a number of minutes under their belts during pre-season in a huge boost for the Reds’ tilt at the title. “I think so, it looks like [they are available to start. However, Robertson was less fortunate and faces a few weeks out with ankle ligament damage, meaning Kostas Tsimikas is expected to build on his six Premier League minutes last season with a start – take note FPL players.
Further forward, Klopp has a decision to make in attack between Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino. The latter’s extended run at Copa America with Brazil, and therefore fewer pre-season minutes, could play into Jota’s hands for the first time. It was unprecedented really because he took them away for four weeks – they had three weeks in Austria and one in France – I can’t think of a time when a manager has been able to take a Liverpool team away for so long.
During that period, they got Joel Matip, Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold back. They had the usual issues of players coming back from international duty at different times, especially with the Brazilians who went all the way to the final in the Copa America. Obviously, Jordan Henderson reached the EURO 2020 final with England as well. It’s been a really good pre-season for Liverpool, loads of young players have stepped up and delivered. Fringe players have really staked a claim and then you’ve got star men like Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane who look really fresh and hungry. People would have questioned whether Minamino, who you mentioned then, had a future at the club after being loaned out to Southampton, but he’s come in and done really well.
We can’t legislate for any tactical nuisances Klopp might consider in light of the opposition, but as things stand it seems likely Liverpool’s well-established front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane will start. While Firmino now has Diogo Jota breathing down his neck for a starting berth, the Brazilian has always been reliable on the road – 21 of his 33 goal involvements over the last two Premier League campaigns have come away from Anfield.
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