If last week was all about Liverpool supporters revelling in the hysteria surrounding Jurgen Klopp’s arrival at the club, this week has been spent lamenting the injury curse which has struck the new Reds manager.
Both Joe Gomez and Danny Ings will be out for the rest for the season after they suffered cruciate ligament injuries within 24 hours of each other – Gomez on international duty with England under-21s and Ings in his first training session under his new boss.
They are devastating blows to both the club and players, and with captain Jordan Henderson and summer signings Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino also on the sidelines, just who will Klopp select for his first match in charge of the Reds at Tottenham on Saturday?
Mark Jones tries to pick the German’s brains:
Goalkeeper: Simon Mignolet
An obvious choice to start with, as whilst Simon Mignolet might not convince everyone that he is the long-term solution in goal for the Reds, he is still the best shot-stopper available to Klopp.
Before the international break the Belgian was terrific in a Merseyside derby which has since been forgotten, whilst he also played for his country as they beat Andorra and Israel to qualify for Euro 2016 and establish themselves as the new No. 1s in FIFA’s world rankings.
Right-Back: Nathaniel Clyne
Clearly Liverpool’s first-choice at right-back, Nathaniel Clyne is likely to be a Rodgers summer signing which Klopp certainly approves of.
Although a little off-form in the final days of the Northern Irishman, that was really more down to a general malaise surrounding the club than anything else, and Clyne will be determined to get back to his best under his new boss.
Centre-Back: Martin Skrtel
Signed by Rafael Benitez, Martin Skrtel will play for his fifth different Liverpool manager at White Hart Lane on Saturday, and the Slovakia captain – who is fresh from leading his country to Euro 2016 – will be determined to show Klopp why he is Liverpool’s most established defender.
Skrtel needs to get back to his dominant best, and with Klopp not as obsessed with making his defenders play out from the back as Rodgers was, he might find that a simpler approach suits him.
Centre-Back: Mamadou Sakho
In a rare piece of positive injury news for Liverpool (no jokes please), Dejan Lovren is believed to be close to a return to full fitness ahead of this game, but even if he is back then the Croatian shouldn’t dislodge Mamadou Sakho from the starting XI as Klopp reverts to a more conventional four-man defence.
Strong and dominant in the Merseyside derby, Sakho will hope that he can become an established starter under Klopp after spells in and out of the team under Rodgers.
Left-Back: Alberto Moreno
The Gomez blow means that Klopp might have been rooting around in the bins outside Melwood to fish out Jose Enrique this week, but even with the perma-tanned one’s likely return to the fold, Alberto Moreno is now going to be needed to play a lot more football.
His attacking qualities will certainly mean that he ticks a few boxes for his boss, and Moreno will have happy memories of White Hart Lane having scored a stunning goal there in last season’s 3-0 win.
Centre Midfield: Emre Can
Seen by many as a key beneficiary of the Klopp appointment simply because he’s German, Emre Can also has to hope that his fellow countryman decides upon a position for the 21-year-old and then leaves him in it.
Strong and powerful enough to cope with the demands of Premier League midfield battles, a lack of pace can sometimes let Can down when it matters most, but with Klopp’s help he’ll hope to overcome this.
Centre Midfield: James Milner
If ever there was an Englishman built for Gegenpressing then it is surely James Milner, who will become Klopp’s first captain when he leads the team out at White Hart Lane.
With the injury situation seeing the Reds’ numbers diminish, Milner’s energy is going to be crucial in what – lest we forget – is a game against one of the better sides in the Premier League.
Right Attacking Midfield: Jordon Ibe
A player who has suddenly become a lot more important in light of the Ings injury, Jordon Ibe will need to shake off the poor form he showed in the closing weeks of the Rodgers reign and get back to being the player we saw in the latter half of 2014/15.
Perhaps showing the young Englishman videos of Marco Reus should be one of Klopp’s priorities from now on, with Ibe desperately needing to develop the goalscoring side to his game if he is to progress in his career.
Centre Attacking Midfield: Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho had to pull out of the Brazil squad due to injury, but given the problems elsewhere than Klopp and Liverpool have to hope that he is okay for this game, and the No. 10 will surely start here even if he’s not 100%.
The Brazilian possesses the ability to slice through any defence, and he’s going to be a crucial player for Klopp in the weeks and months to come.
Left Attacking Midfield: Adam Lallana
If Adam Lallana is ever going to become anything more than just a bit part player in his Liverpool career then now would be as good a time as any to prove it.
Seemingly incapable of lasting 90 minutes under Rodgers, the England international is nonetheless one of the few currently available to Klopp who seem to always have a goal in him, and a start here could be the beginning of a defining period for him.
Centre Forward: Daniel Sturridge
Daniel Sturridge really needs to stay fit now, doesn’t he?
The good news is that the Englishman has looked in good shape since returning from his summer surgery, and he’ll lead the line here as he looks for support from the three players behind him.
As always, his finishing could be the difference between Liverpool winning and losing the game, and Klopp will know that as he enters his new job he has potentially one of the best forwards in Europe available to him.
Bench: Bogdan, Toure, Lovren, Lucas, Allen, Origi, Rossiter
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