Why Virgil van Dijk misses out on Liverpool's FA Cup trip to Arsenal

Virgil van Dijk has missed out on Liverpool's trip to Arsenal as the Reds prepare to get their FA Cup campaign underway this Sunday afternoon.

The Reds skipper is absent through illness, with Jarell Quansah stepping into defence in his place. Trent Alexander-Arnold, as vice-captain, takes the armband.

Asked about Van Dijk absence, Jurgen Klopp said: "Virgil is ill. We were actually kind of lucky in the last two, three weeks because a lot of staff had it but not the players.

"And now Virg got the virus and we have to see how he feels tomorrow and if he is available for the next one. But for today there was no chance, so we didn't even try it."

It's one of four changes that Klopp has made going into the contest at the Emirates Stadium, one of which sees Alexis Mac Allister return to the starting XI after a spell on the sidelines.

He replaces Wataru Endo, who is also on international duty with Japan at the Asia Cup.

Similarly away with their country is Mohamed Salah, who is on duty with Egypt at AFCON. Harvey Elliott comes into the lineup in his place in what appears to be a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Cody Gakpo and Curtis Jones also earn starts against Liverpool's Premier League title rivals, while Darwin Nunez looks set to lead the line.

Jurgen Klopp also names a youthful set of substitutes, with Bobby Clark, Luke Chambers, Kaide Gordon, Conor Bradley, James McConnell and 16-year-old Trey Nyoni all lining the bench alongside Ryan Gravenberch, Diogo Jota and Caoimhin Kelleher.

Liverpool's starting XI to face Arsenal: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold (c), Konate, Quansah, Gomez, Mac Allister, Elliott, Jones, Diaz, Gakpo, Nunez.

Subs: Kelleher, Jota, Gravenberch, Clark, Chambers, Gordon, McConnell, Bradley, Nyoni.

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