Predicted Liverpool starting XI vs Atletico: Klopp to make two changes, 26 y/o returns
The Champions League is back, and the reigning champions of Europe will look to make a strong impact when they take on Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the last 16 knock-out phase on Tuesday in Spain.
The Reds are heading into this game on the back of a gritty 1-0 win against Norwich City, and Jurgen Klopp is expected to field a strong side for their trip to Wanda Metropolitano.
Ahead of the match, the Liverpool boss has paid high respect to Atletico saying playing against them is “one of the most difficult games in the life of a football player”.
Although the Rojiblancos have had a relatively disappointing campaign – sitting fourth in the La Liga table – they are a strong force at home and it is expected to be a tough contest.
Klopp has plenty of options in almost every department. Xherdan Shaqiri hasn’t travelled with the squad as he is still sidelined with an ongoing calf-injury.
Takumi Minamino will be eligible for the rest of the campaign despite playing in the group stages for Salzburg.
Sadio Mane came on as a substitute in the previous game and scored the winner at Carrow Road. The Senegal international is likely to start alongside Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Fabinho should return to the starting line-up as well in place of Naby Keita. Away from home, Klopp will be looking to keep the game tight, and the 26-year-old holding midfielder could prove to be a vital player in executing those plans.
Predicted line-up for Liverpool: Alisson, Robertson, Gomez, Van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Mane, Salah, Firmino.