‘Matip an easy pick in defence’
Paul Gorst: So Liverpool head to the place Jurgen Klopp says is the toughest in world football today.
All hands on the deck then, which means a recall for Joel Matip without question.
Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams can both be proud of their performances of late but Matip is in today if he is fit.
In midfield, I’m overlooking the claims of a fit-again Naby Keita and an emerging Curtis Jones to go for solidity in James Milner, Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson.
Up top, it’s a watching brief for Roberto Firmino with Diogo Jota stepping in alongside Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
My team (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Jota.
‘Keita grabs the spot in midfield’
Ian Doyle: It isn’t the big one quite yet given the stage of the season. But it’s pretty sizeable.
Liverpool are off to Manchester City later today and Jurgen Klopp has some decisions in every area of the team.
Let’s start with the defence.
Both Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams have done well alongside Joe Gomez at centre-back but this is a time for experience so Joel Matip returns.
In midfield, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum are nailed on to start, which leaves one place up for grabs.
Several players have strong claims but Naby Keita started the season well enough so deserves another go, although James Milner could be a more solid option.
Up top, it has all been about Diogo Jota of late. But Roberto Firmino does well against City and will have a point to prove. He completes the regular front three.
My team (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane
‘Firmino always plays – but not this time’
Joe Rimmer: Picking a Liverpool team to face Man City shouldn’t be so difficult.
Indeed, in previous years perhaps only the midfield would present a challenge when selecting a line-up to face Pep Guardiola’s men.
But this year it’s a lot trickier, and credit should go to those who have made the selection so difficult.
Alisson plays in goal but the defence in front of him has one major question mark hanging over it.
Joel Matip is far more experienced than either Rhys Williams or Nat Phillips but it speaks volumes about both young men that it’s so hard to decide.
Williams almost got my pick but, head over heart and I’m going with experience and Matip.
The other major selection problem comes up front. Leaving Roberto Firmino out usually doesn’t end well but what choice do we have? Diogo Jota just can’t be ignored. So he continues in my front three.
Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum are automatic picks in midfield and once again I’m going for experience in the shape of James Milner.
My team (4-3-3): Alisson, Trent, Matip, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Milner; Salah, Mane, Jota
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‘Fab Four start in bold, attacking lineup’
Sean Bradbury: This may turn out to be a season eventually decided by fine margins. Certainly if more VAR lines are drawn.
But it has been a campaign of shocks and surprises so far.
Not least Man City dropping points in three of their first six games.
Liverpool are in a rare position where they can take a swing at City without too much concern for immediate consequences if it goes awry.
Should the Reds lose today, the worst they can be is two points off the top of the table if Leicester also beat Wolves.
With that in mind: I would go 4-2-3-1 and use the whole ‘Fab Four’ from the start.
Given the form he was in against Atalanta, Jota gets the nod as the man in the middle up front.
Joel Matip returns at the back if he is deemed fit enough to do so.
And otherwise the team picks itself.
My team (4-2-3-1): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson; Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane; Jota
‘James Milner’s experience required’
Dan Kay: The portion of Liverpool’s season between the October and November international breaks was always likely to be defined by the away games which bookended it.
After the costly 2-2 Merseyside derby draw which began it three weeks ago, Liverpool have responded impressively with five straight wins, the best of them being the 5-0 Champions League away triumph at Atalanta on Tuesday.
Only two goals have been conceded in that time helping assuage the defensive concerns highlighted in the 7-2 aberration at Aston Villa and added to by the injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho.
Klopp may well have been holding back Joel Matip for this game and, despite the encouraging showings in recent weeks from youngsters Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips, the Cameroonian – on bench duty in Italy in midweek – surely returns to the centre of the defence today alongside Joe Gomez, with Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson taking their regular places in the back five.
In midfield, with Thiago still absent, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum are no-brainer selections and, while Klopp may be tempted to give Naby Keita or Curtis Jones, James Milner’s experience will be invaluable in a game of this magnitude so gets the nod for me.
Up front, the big debate is whether Roberto Firmino or Diogo Jota get the nod with the £41m signing on fire since his move from Wolves, Tuesday’s hat-trick in Bergamo taking his tally to 7 in just 10 games.
There will be occasions when Klopp unleashes his new ‘Fab Four’ but I don’t see today being one of them so Firmino starts on the bench but may yet have a part to play on the ground where he scored his first Liverpool goal nearly five years ago.
My team (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Wiljnaldum, Milner; Salah, Jota, Mane