Jurgen Klopp facing Takumi Minamino conundrum as Liverpool consider midfielder overhaul


Liverpool finished their preparations for the Premier League season with a heated encounter against Blackpool at Anfield on Saturday. The Reds came in from 2-0 to ultimately triumph 7-2 against a team led by former Under-23 boss Neil Critchley.

The new champions begin their defense of their crown by hosting promoted Leeds United on Saturday night.

Jurgen Klopp will now consider his options while keeping his fingers crossed on those on international return duty without injury.

And here we turn to the changes the Reds boss could make when his team are next in action.

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Claiming Matip Stakes

Klopp was relieved to see Joel Matip pass the shock of Anfield on Saturday, scoring a header in a solid display after more than two months of absence.

The Cameroonian is currently the only senior center-back option ahead of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, both on international assignments.

Neco Williams, who scored a late winner for Wales over Bulgaria on Sunday, has replaced right-back in recent weeks but Trent Alexander-Arnold was fit enough to join England in their UEFA Nations win League in Iceland on Saturday.

The likely unavailability of Kostas Tsimikas only reinforces Andy Robertson’s starting role on the opposite side of the defense.

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Midfielder to win

The visit to Leeds could come too early for skipper Jordan Henderson, who wasn’t quite ready for the friendly against Blackpool this weekend.

Fabinho seems a cert, but otherwise the composition of the engine room will surely be reflected by Klopp.

Gini Wijnaldum remains in favor despite being in the final year of his deal amid growing speculation of Barcelona’s interest, while James Milner will be desperate to play against his childhood club.

Naby Keita continues to impress after the lockdown while Curtis Jones has strongly claimed his position during the preseason.

And a lineup change, as seen against the Tangerines on Saturday, could see Takumi Minamino in a pivotal role.

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Origi returns

Minamino particularly shone when used on the left flank, a position he mostly featured in coming off the bench and scoring during the community shield against Arsenal.

But while Divock Origi made a welcome scoring return against Blackpool, it would be a surprise if Klopp tinkered with the top three excessively.

Instead, players who fail to make it into the squad will be particularly intriguing, with the Premier League returning to a bench of seven.

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