Liverpool return to Premier League action on Saturday afternoon as they face Crystal Palace away from home at 12:30.
The Reds moved back to the top of the table on Wednesday night thanks to a 2-1 victory against previous leaders Tottenham Hotspur, so will be full of confidence ahead of their trip to Selhurst Park.
Despite the impressive performance against Jose Mourinho’s side, it has been suggested by Liverpool Echo writer Ian Doyle that manager Jurgen Klopp is likely to make changes to his starting XI to face the Eagles, perhaps as he tries to deal with the busy Christmas fixture list.
Here’s how soccer FanCast expects Klopp to line his side up against Palace, with three changes from the side that beat Spurs…
Despite Rhys Williams’ superb Premier League debut on Wednesday night, Palace will provide a different sort of threat on Saturday, so Klopp may be better served restoring Nathaniel Phillips to his starting eleven for the trip to Selhurst Park, to ensure that his young centre-back options remain fresh.
Trent Alexander-Arnold will surely be key in the battle against Palace danger-man Wilfried Zaha, although the Reds’ defence won’t have to deal with the aerial threat of Christian Benteke after he was sent off in their midweek draw with West Ham.
There’s one change in midfield as Curtis Jones is rested, with Naby Keita replacing him in the starting line up. Jones was perhaps the best player on the pitch against Spurs but he’s only 19-years-old and will need a rest every now and then, whilst Keita needs to pick up some fitness after making his return as a substitute in midweek.
Earlier this year, the Guinean was heavily praised by teammate Virgil van Dijk, with the Dutch international saying:
“Naby is a fantastic guy, he works so hard and he is an outstanding soccer player. We see it week in and week out. He has unfortunately been unlucky with some injuries, but hopefully he can stay fully fit for the next season.
“I think he is world-class if I’m absolutely honest. I see all the moments when he has the ball, the smart moves, the smart intelligence. It’s just incredible to see and I’m very happy for him.”
Hopefully, if the former RB Leipzig man is handed a start vs Palace, he can repay Van Dijk’s faith in him.
Finally, there’s one change in attack, as Mohamed Salah is replaced by Xherdan Shaqiri, with the Swiss international having missed recent fixtures but we feel that Klopp could spring a surprise by selecting the former Stoke City man from the start against Palace, giving Salah a well-earned rest.
Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino keep their place, although the Reds will want to be in a position where they are comfortable and can give those two a rest, so that they are not overextended during the next few weeks of action.
And, in other news… Forget Williams: Klopp must seal transfer swoop for centre-back who “doesn’t make mistakes”…
The post Salah benched, Keita starts: Predicted Liverpool XI vs Crystal Palace first appeared on soccerFanCast.com.