Predicting Liverpool's starting XI for the Merseyside derby

Liverpool fans love a Merseyside derby, especially when it's played at Anfield, but who is Jurgen Klopp most likely to start to ensure the Reds get back to winning ways?

The second international break of the season may have been fairly well-timed for Liverpool in terms of providing an opportunity for the squad to refresh themselves after picking up just one point from two games.

However, this break is only useful as long as everyone comes back in one piece.

Unfortunately for Liverpool, Andy Robertson – along with international compatriot Ben Doak – traveled back to Merseyside injured and will be unavailable for Saturday's clash with Everton.

READ MORE: Liverpool vs Everton – Match Preview

Klopp will have to come up with a new short-notice game plan for left-back that doesn't include the Scotsman, but he will also have plenty of other decisions to make regarding who makes the bench and who starts.

He will just be hoping that no one else picks up a knock throughout the remainder of the international fixtures.

But providing everyone who is currently fit, stays fit, who is likely to get the nod?


© Proshots - Andy Robertson

Alisson Becker will undoubtedly start the game in-between the sticks. It's pretty simple, when the best goal keeper in the world is available, he plays.

At right-back, vice-captain Trent Alexander-Arnold will surely start. While he has only played just over 110 minutes of football in the last month and a half (a cameo against Tottenham before the game against Brighton), the 24-year-old appears to be over his hamstring issue.

Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have both performed well this season when they've been given the chance, but neither of their skillsets compare with a fully fit Ibrahima Konate and the Frenchman is expected to slot back in as the right centre-half for the physical challenge Everton will bring.

Fresh off the back of scoring a vital last minute penalty for the Netherlands, Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk will come straight back into the starting XI for the Merseyside derby feeling confident and fresh.

The interesting pick this weekend is at left-back. With Robertson injured, some will argue that Klopp should opt to play a third centre-back on the left flank and give Alexander-Arnold even more licence to bomb forward and be creative.

However, none of Matip, Gomez or Jarell Quansah are overly familiar with playing on the left, and in a game like the Merseyside derby, leaving Kostas Tsimikas as the natural and most obvious choice to fill in at the weekend.


Going into the early kick-off against Everton, Klopp is looking like he will be once again without Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic, while Curtis Jones is confirmed to be unavailable for the game due to the appeal against his three-match suspension being denied.

Wataru Endo may earn a rare start for the big game due to Alexis Mac Allister's late return from international duty.

The Argentine has been Klopp's preferred 'number six' so far this season, despite much debate over his suitability in the role. However, with Argentina's final game of the break not played until Wednesday morning, his preparation time for the weekend will be severely limited. The former Brighton man was started against Wolves under similar circumstances after the last international break but found himself getting hooked at half-time.

Dominik Szoboszlai is perhaps the most non-negotiable midfielder in the side. He has had that much of an impact on Liverpool since joining that he is completely undroppable when fit.

This leaves one spot for Harvey Elliott and Ryan Gravenberch to fight over, with the latter being most likely to get the nod.

The Dutchman's 6ft 3in physique will certainly come in handy in the rugged battle of the derby. While Elliott is more offensive, Gravenberch may also offer more of a balance to the engine room.


KARLSRUHE, GERMANY - Wednesday, July 19, 2023: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates after scoring the opening goal during a pre-season friendly match between Karlsruher SC and Liverpool FC at the Wildparkstadion. Liverpool won 4-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Whether Cody Gakpo is fit enough to return, let alone start, against Everton as he recovers from the knee injury sustained against Tottenham, remains to be seen.

In normal circumstances, Liverpool would be well-stocked to deal with the Dutchman's possible absence, but the international break makes things tricky once again.

Both Luis Diaz and Darwin Nuñez played 90 minutes in the early hours of Wednesday, while the latter cramped up as Uruguay recorded a famous win over Brazil. He is a major doubt to start at the weekend, but Diaz may be risked out of necessity.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah is, thankfully, a shoo-in, while Diogo Jota could take up a role on the left of the front three.

While plenty is uncertain, the only forward who almost certainly won't be involved in the clash is Ben Doak, who had to withdraw from Scotland's Under-21 camp with an injury.


(4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Endo, Szoboszlai, Gravenberch; Salah, Jota, Diaz

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