Liverpool will be hoping to keep their quadruple hopes alive when they host Villarreal in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday night. The Reds comfortably saw off Benfica in the quarter-finals earlier this month to book their place in the last four of the competition.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have been in mesmerising form since the turn of the year and lifted their first trophy of the season when they won the Carabao Cup in February. They have since booked their place in the FA Cup final and are just one point behind leaders Manchester City in the Premier League title race.
Liverpool will be confident of overcoming Villarreal at Anfield ahead of next week’s second leg. And Express Sport takes a look at the starting line-up Klopp could opt for.
Goalkeeper – Alisson
Alisson kept his 24th clean sheet of the season at the weekend as the Reds defeated Merseyside rivals Everton. And the 29-year-old will take his place between the posts when his side go head-to-head with the Spaniards.
Defence – Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson
Liverpool’s defence has been sensational this season and they have looked impregnable at times since the return of influential centre-back Virgil van Dijk. The Netherlands international will be key once again against Unai Emery’s side and could be partnered by Joel Matip.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson will occupy the flanks as usual and will be tasked with getting forward and providing ammunition for the front three.
Midfield – Thiago, Fabinho, Henderson
Klopp could recall Jordan Henderson to his starting line-up against Villarreal after resting him against the Toffees. The Reds skipper is a man for the big occasion and will be desperate to be involved.
He could line up in midfield alongside Thiago, with Fabinho given the role of muting Villarreal’s attacks and breaking up play as a defensive midfielder. The Brazil international has appeared in every one of his team’s Champions League matches this season.
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Forwards – Salah, Mane, Diaz
Klopp could bring Luis Diaz back into his side on Wednesday night. The 25-year-old started both legs of the Reds’ quarter-final win over Benfica and looks set to be an important player between now and the end of the season.
Diaz could line up on the left of a front three, with Sadio Mane leading the frontline. Mane has occupied a more central position at times since Diaz’s arrival and has looked more threatening in front of goal as a result. Mohamed Salah will also be handed a role and will be looking to star once again. The Egypt international has bagged eight Champions League goals this season but hasn’t found the back of the net in his last three games in the competition.
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