Liverpool starting lineup to face Arsenal – predicted

With the 4-2 win over Newcastle, Liverpool go into the Premier League's winter mini-break top of the pile.

The Reds don't play again in the league until 21 January with the trip to Bournemouth, but there is cup action to get stuck into in the meantime.

Before the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Fulham, Liverpool take on Arsenal this weekend in one of the tougher FA Cup third round fixtures.

The draw for club football's oldest domestic cup competition was not kind to Jurgen Klopp's side, with the Reds set to travel to Arsenal for a repeat of a fixture played as recently as 23 December.

That game ended 1-1, of course, thanks to a moment of magic from Mohamed Salah.

However, the Egyptian will not be available for Sunday's contest in London, instead heading to the Ivory Coast for the Africa Cup of Nations.

How Liverpool compensate for the loss of their most important attacker over the next few weeks will be Klopp's biggest problem to solve.

Here's how he could line up his side to face Arsenal.

Goalkeeper & Defence

Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool vs Man Utd Premier League

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold pictured in action during the Premier League game vs Man Utd on Sunday December 19, 2023 (Copyright ProShots)

Caoimhin Kelleher has been the Reds' regular cup keeper in recent seasons, featuring in five Europa League and three League Cup games to date in 223/24. In normal circumstances, he would be a shoo-in for a run out in the FA Cup third round. However, the fact that Liverpool have been handed such a tough draw, combined with the league hiatus and the fact that Kelleher will likely play against Fulham three days later mean Alisson could well start this one.

In front of him, expect a relatively strong backline.

Trent Alexander-Arnold could continue at right back, with Ibrahim Konate pairing Virgil van Dijk in the centre. However, Jarell Quansah could also be a strong option to start, depending on who Klopp prefers to face Fulham.

With Joe Gomez currently the only senior option at left back, the recently recalled Owen Beck could possibly be given a run out here – with the more experienced option saved for the midweek semi.

19-year-old Luke Chambers is another option. However, risking either youngster up against Bukayo Saka is a tall ask.


Harvey Elliott, ProShots

Salah is not the only big absence brought on by an international tournament this month. Wataru Endo will be a big miss at the base of midfield with the Japan captain heading to Qatar for the Asian Cup.

Alexis Mac Allister should reprise his role as Klopp's deepest lying midfielder, having made his comeback from injury in the win over Newcastle.

There are few certainties about the rest of Liverpool's midfield, though Dominik Szoboszlai is surely out of contention – alongside Thiago and Stefan Bajcetic – after suffering a hamstring injury on New Year's Day.

Options aren't abundant, but Curtis Jones could continue on the left of the three, having impressed in recent outings. Harvey Elliott might well be the other player in the engine room.

Ryan Gravenberch along with youngsters Bobby Clark and James McConnell are the other midfield options available.


Darwin Nuñez has a goal and an assist in his last two outings, but questions persist over his finishing after he racked up an xG of 1.61 – the highest in a game without scoring – during the Reds' win over Newcastle.

The FA Cup might be an ideal time to try and switch things up, with Cody Gakpo starting through the middle.

Compensating for Salah's loss becomes harder with potential options Szoboszlai and Ben Doak both injured. It's tough to predict what Klopp will do, with the manager previously stating that he would respond based on players' availability game by game, rather than come up with a master plan for the Egyptian's absence.

Luis Diaz – who impressed against Newcastle – could be switched to the right hand side for Sunday, while Diogo Jota may start on the left.

19-year-old Kaide Gordon could get a spot on the bench, almost exactly two years on from his only senior Reds goal in the FA Cup third round win over Shrewsbury.

Predicted starting XI to face Arsenal:

(4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Beck; Elliott, Mac Allister, Jones; Diaz, Gakpo, Jota

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