How Liverpool could line up against Norwich City with Jurgen Klopp facing £111m decision – Liverpool Echo

The phoney war is over. Finally, all minds will be on the real stuff for Liverpool.

The Reds begin their attempt to regain the Premier League title when they make the long journey to Norwich City on Saturday evening.

Jurgen Klopp’s side concluded their pre-season programme with an enjoyable 3-1 friendly win over Osasuna at Anfield on Monday.

And the Reds boss has been handed some intriguing posers over who best to call upon at Carrow Road.

READ MORE: Lionel Messi transfer saga puts Liverpool on £116m Mohamed Salah alert

The Van Dijk question

Alisson Becker in goal and Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back are both, late injury permitting, certainties against Norwich.

And it would be a major surprise if Kostas Tsimikas is not entrusted with the left-back berth in place of the stricken Andy Robertson having impressed throughout pre-season, with James Milner the only senior alternative available to Klopp.

Centre-back roles, though, remains very much open for debate.

Well, one of them at least. Joel Matip appears in pole position to play having proven his fitness throughout the summer, meaning three players are competing to partner the Cameroonian, although realistically it has come too soon for Joe Gomez on the evidence of recent weeks.

New summer signing Ibrahima Konate had appeared favourite having played alongside Matip on several occasions during pre-season, but Virgil van Dijk’s strong recovery from long-term injury has definitely put the Dutchman in the mix.

Mind you, choosing between £111million worth of centre-back talent is a task of which Klopp could only dream last term.

Milner choice pivotal

While having been one of the last to report for pre-season training, Fabinho’s fitness – and the lack of action for Jordan Henderson – makes him likely to start in a defensive midfield role.

The other two midfield places aren’t quite so clear-cut. James Milner has been a regular in arguably the strongest line-ups during the friendly schedule and experience could work in his favour, especially in what will be a boisterous atmosphere with Norwich having played only one home game in front of a capacity crowd since Liverpool last visited in February 2020.

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Should Milner be preferred, it would seem a straight fight between Naby Keita and Harvey Elliott for the third spot, although both could be included if Klopp goes for a more attacking side and benches Milner.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will have given Klopp some food for thought with a lively outing against Osasuna, but Thiago Alcantara needs more minutes and Curtis Jones has endured a testing few weeks.

Jota or Firmino?

Up front, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have underlined why they must start whenever possible.

But the choice between Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino is not straightforward, with both having impressed against Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna respectively.

Takumi Minamino’s good showing in the latter match could see the Japan international force his way on to the bench, but it would be a surprise for Divock Origi to be involved.

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