Jurgen Klopp ready to make Gini Wijnaldum decision as Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara take a step forward


The 7-0 score wasn’t the only thing that thrilled Jurgen Klopp at Crystal Palace.
While the categorical and assertive manner of victory was the key to remember, there were other aspects which will have pleased the Liverpool boss as well.

In defense, Joel Matip came back to the side and put in another accomplished performance alongside Fabinho.

The defender’s sustainability issues remain, but not the quality issues; the center-back has been one of the Reds’ best players this season.

In midfield there was also the welcome sight of Naby Keita pulling the strings while taking on much of the defensive responsibility in south London.

Keita’s trials and tribulations at Anfield are well documented, with the Guinea international seemingly stuck in the same cycle for the past two and a half years.

This, however, was a big step forward in his last attempt to catch fire again.

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And there was a more festive joy to be shed by the reappearance of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

His first 15-minute cameo of the campaign gave Mohamed Salah an assist, who concluded the proceedings with an astonishing seventh.

And with an eight-day gap between matches, Klopp has the kind of luxury he has only dreamed of so far this season.

The break gives him, as well as his players, the opportunity to fully prepare for the visit to West Brom on December 27th.

At a time when much of the division is on their knees in party games, Liverpool’s rare time off means they can really turn the screw at the top.

But what kind of team can we expect on Sunday at Anfield?

Alisson Becker will retain his place in goal and given that Klopp was optimistic his players would avoid hitting at Palace, the same full-backs are expected to turn out as well.

Andy Robertson has been one of Liverpool’s most consistent performers this term but with an injury to Kostas Tsimikas at the moment the Scotland captain will make his debut.

Much like Trent Alexander-Arnold on the other side and provided Matip has no further complaints this week, he and Fabinho will likely extend their partnership into the heart of the defense.

Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams wait in reserve if there’s a problem to face at center-back.

It is in the middle of the field that the great poseurs of the selection present themselves.

Gini Wijnaldum has been Liverpool’s iron man this season, missing just two games in 23 this season, so would this be the perfect time to give him some extra time?

Keita’s availability may well give Klopp a chance to do so, but given his implicit trust in the Dutchman, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Wijnaldum continue against the Baggies.

Curtis Jones is likely more likely to stay in reserve after a busy season so far for the teenager.

Crystal Palace contre Liverpool

Oxlade-Chamberlain, meanwhile, could well be selected for another cameo in the second half given he has only played 15 minutes all season.

Thiago Alcantara is set to return to the squad, but a place on the bench is likely to be the height of his ambitions for this particular game after almost two and a half months on the board.

At the top, given their superb displays at Selhurst Park – and the fact that Diogo Jota is still out – expect Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino to have the chance to add their collective 27-goal goal.


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