Jurgen Klopp: Two key decisions went against Liverpool in West Ham defeat
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Liverpool are facing a selection dilemma ahead of their return to Premier League action, with both Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane seemingly doubtful for Saturday’s clash with Arsenal.
The Reds have had a whole host of players away on international duty over the past few weeks.
And unfortunately, they’ve been struck with misfortune as both Henderson and Mane have picked up injury issues whilst away with their respective national sides.
Mane was substituted in the first half of Senegal’s match with Togo after an aerial clash with a defender and is reportedly waiting on X-ray results to determine the severity of his issue.
Meanwhile, Reds skipper Henderson withdrew from the England squad prior to Monday’s World Cup Qualifying clash with San Marino with an unspecified problem.
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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is now sweating on the key duo being available for the weekend as his side look to bounce back from their 3-2 loss at West Ham just before the international break.
If Henderson is absent, Klopp would most likely fast-track Thiago Alcantara’s return from injury.
The former Bayern Munich midfielder was introduced off the bench in the latter stages of the Reds’ first league defeat of the season in east London.
It’s also hoped that Naby Keita, James Milner and Curtis Jones will all be back in action sooner rather than later; which should soften the blow if Henderson is to be missing for a sustained period of time.
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But for now, it would make sense for Thiago to replace Henderson in midfield against Arsenal, lining up alongside Fabinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, despite the latter’s disappointing display at the London Stadium.
Things aren’t quite as straightforward in attack if Mane is set for a spell on the sidelines.
Roberto Firmino is already out of action, with Diogo Jota already back in the side after his brief spell on the bench.
Mohamed Salah is assured of a start given he’s in the form of his life, but with Jota, the Reds’ usual attacking deputy, already in the team right now, Mane’s injury could offer an Anfield lifeline to two forgotten stars.
Both Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino will be champing at the bit for a crack at impressing Klopp if he is to be without Mane.
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Given his history of netting important goals, it’s likely to be Origi who gets the nod should Mane be unable to feature against the Gunners.
It’s likely that Klopp will resist the urge to tinker with his defensive unit of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Andy Robertson to allow them the chance to make amends after shipping three goals in east London.
Alisson Becker is also all-but-guaranteed to be handed the opportunity to redeem himself after his horror show against the Hammers.
Possible Liverpool starting XI against Arsenal (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Thiago; Salah, Origi, Jota.
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