Liverpool’s start to the season couldn’t really have gone any better. Four wins from four, top of the table and just one goal conceded.
But their schedule is now set to ramp up a gear as they begin their Champions League and Carabao Cup campaigns later this month.
Jürgen Klopp had the luxury of being able to select an unchanged XI in three of Liverpool’s opening four matches and only made one change to his team in their last match away to Leicester, with Jordan Henderson preferred to Naby Keita.
The Reds went out of their way to add more strength in depth to their side this summer, as they look to secure some long overdue silverware this season. Klopp has made no secret of the fact that the whole squad will be needed during a spell which will see his side play seven matches in three weeks, starting with an away clash against Tottenham this Saturday.
Their other opponents during that time are PSG, Southampton, Chelsea (both in the Carabao Cup and in the Premier League), Napoli and Manchester City.
We’ve picked out four Liverpool players that we expect to see a lot more of in the coming weeks.
1. Joel Matip
Minutes played so far: 2
Much of Matip’s time at Liverpool has been plagued by injuries. He looked likely to start the season as Virgil van Dijk’s centre-back partner, only to pick up a muscle issue for the Reds in pre-season. With Dejan Lovren also sidelined, Joe Gomez has grasped his opportunity to impress at the heart of Liverpool’s defence with both hands.
Matip is a player that Klopp rates highly, though, and the former Schalke man has appeared as a substitute in Liverpool’s last two matches. Using Matip as a centre-back with Gomez moving out to right-back could become a useful option for the Reds when they’re looking to shore up the defence.
Key fixtures to be used: Southampton, Chelsea (Carabao Cup) – Southampton are probably the most direct side Liverpool will face in the coming weeks, Matip’s height may be needed.
Minutes played so far: 0
Big things were expected of Fabinho when he signed for Liverpool in a deal worth a reported £43.7m this summer, but the Brazilian is having to be patient. He is yet to play a single minute for the Reds this season and hasn’t even been on the bench in three of their first four matches.
Klopp is totally calm about the situation and insists that the former Monaco man has just needed time to adapt to the Reds’ style of play. The 24-year-old made an appearance for Brazil last week and is expected to get his chance to shine for Liverpool in the coming weeks. We think his first start may come against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.
Key fixtures to be used: PSG, Chelsea (Carabao Cup), Napoli – Fabinho’s Champions League experience could be handy for Liverpool in their opening two European fixtures of the season. PSG in particular are a side that he will know well.
3. Xherdan Shaqiri
Position: Versatile attacker
Minutes played so far: 27
Shaqiri was brought in to provide more cover for the Reds’ illustrious front three. Expect to see him feature on a much more regular basis in the coming weeks.
The Swiss international impressed when he came off the bench in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Leicester City. Klopp used him in a few different positions in pre-season and it will be interesting to see where he ends up playing most of his football for the Reds. He may play a big role against Spurs this weekend with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all clocking up significantly more air miles than Shaqiri did during the international break.
Key fixtures to be used: Tottenham, Manchester City – Shaqiri may be needed against City, the last game in what will have been an extremely testing period for the Reds’ forward players.
4. Daniel Sturridge
Minutes played so far: 13
Sturridge has appeared as a substitute three times for Liverpool so far this season but already has a goal to his name after having scored with his first touch against West Ham in the Reds’ season opener.
Many expected him to move on this summer, but an excellent pre-season has put him right back into the frame with Liverpool again and, providing he stays fit, he could be hugely important for Jürgen Klopp’s side this season. Sturridge is likely to get his chance to impress from the start against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.
Key fixtures to be used: Southampton, Chelsea (Carabao Cup) – Sturridge could be handy against Southampton in amongst a set of fixtures against some of Europe’s top sides.