Predicting Liverpool’s starting XI to face West Ham

Liverpool return to Premier League action this Sunday, having kicked off their Europa League campaign with a win.

The Reds continued their domestic tradition of fighting back from a goal down while on the road in Europe, conceding early to Group E opponents LASK before eventually running out 3-1 winners.

The game marked the start of the Reds' new Thursday-Sunday fixture schedule that will become the norm for much of the autumn at least.

READ MORE: Liverpool vs West Ham – Preview

Despite his insistence that the Europa League will be taken seriously, Jurgen Klopp made sweeping changes to the side that took to the field in Austria, with several big names featuring only in cameos or not at all.

Liverpool's weekend opponents won't be able to press home any kind of freshness advantage, with West Ham also starting their own Europa League campaign with a 3-1 win over Backa Topola this week.

Hammers forward Michail Antonio has boldly talked up his side's chances in the meeting at Anfield, with David Moyes' side in good form, but Liverpool have a strong record against West Ham, winning 11 of the last 14 encounters and suffering just one defeat.

Here's how Liverpool could line up for this one.


Return of key men?

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Liverpool could welcome back both their captain and vice-captain to the Premier League, with Virgil van Dijk's suspension now complete and Trent Alexander-Arnold stepping up his recovery from injury.

While the 32-year-old centre-back is sure to be involved from the start, Alexander-Arnold remains a slight doubt and was left out of the Europa League travelling party to work on individual training following his hamstring strain.

Van Dijk should be partnered by Ibrahima Konate, who completed over 80 minutes against LASK, following his own hamstring issue. Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and the impressive Jarell Quansah all wait in the wings for any opportunities.

Last weekend's stand-in skipper and match-winner Andy Robertson will return to left back, with Alisson keeping goal. Both players were unused in the win over LASK.

Midfield rotation?

With Thiago now the only midfield absentee, Klopp has plenty of choice in his midfield selection.

Summer signing Dominik Szoboszlai has already made himself one of the first names on the team sheet (as well as on fans' shirts), having picked up the club's Player of the Month award for August.

Alexis Mac Allister, who has started all of Liverpool's Premier League games in 2023/24 so far, is likely to reprise his holding role, despite being hooked at half-time against Wolves. Klopp admitted the Argentine was tired after international duty.

Curtis Jones could be the third engine-room starter. The 22-year-old was also unused against LASK and is likely to be preferred over Harvey Elliott in the left-sided 'number eight' role.

READ MORE: Encouraging signs from Ryan Gravenberch's first Liverpool start

Ryan Gravenberch caught the eye with his first start on Thursday, even laying on an assist, but he cramped up towards the end of the second half and will surely need plenty of time to get up to the level of fitness that would put him in contention for two starts in four days.

Salah plus two

Mohamed Salah reminded everyone that he is simply too good for Europe's second-tier competition, with a goalscoring 15-minute turn on Thursday. He is, as always, a lock to start at the weekend.

It's two from four for the other attacking berths, though Klopp's Europa League selection may give some indication over who is more likely to be given a start against West Ham.

Luis Diaz and Darwin Nuñez both played the full 90 in Austria, scoring a goal each. The Colombian may be the more probable starter on Sunday, having nailed down the left-wing role with some key displays so far in 2023/24.

Cody Gakpo could be brought in to replace Nuñez, who would return to his much-appreciated role of chaotic nuisance from the bench.

PREDICTED LIVERPOOL STARTING XI TO FACE LASK:

(4-3-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Mac Allister, Szoboszlai, Jones; Salah, Gakpo, Diaz.

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