Liverpool’s predicted XI vs Chelsea as Salah and Nunez calls made | Football | Sport

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has some tough decisions to make when he selects his starting eleven for the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea today (3pm). The Reds are looking to win a second League Cup under Klopp in what will be his last ever match in the competition, but the German will have to do so without a number of players due to injury. Express Sport looks at how Klopp could be…

Goalkeeper: Kelleher

Alisson Becker will be out until the end of March with a hamstring injury but even if he was fit, Caoimhin Kelleher was always going to start this one. He was the hero when Liverpool beat Chelsea 11-10 on penalties in 2022.

The Irishman has only kept two clean sheets in 15 appearances this season having conceded in all of his five Carabao Cup outings so far.

Defence: Bradley, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson

Liverpool are without Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back and Conor Bradley will start in his place. The Northern Irish defender has been an excellent deputy and scored his first goal for the Reds in their 4-1 Premier League thrashing of Chelsea last month.

Jarell Quansah started at centre-back with captain Virgil van Dijk in the midweek victory over Luton. But Ibrahima Konate will replace the academy graduate here, while Andy Robertson will take Joe Gomez’s place at left-back. Quansah and Gomez should both be on the bench.

Midfield: Endo, Mac Allister, Gravenberch

The Merseyside club have been hit hard by injuries in midfield and are without Thiago Alcantara, Curtis Jones and Stefan Bajcetic at Wembley. Klopp’s No 2 Pep Lijnders said Dominik Szoboszlai was fighting to be in the squad.

Given he hasn’t played a minute since the January 31 win over Chelsea in the league, missing four games since then with a hamstring problem, he should only start on the bench if he makes the match-day 20. The same midfield trio who overcame Luton should start against the Londoners.

That means Wataru Endo as the holding midfielder with Alexis Mac Allister in a slightly more advanced role on the right, and Ryan Gravenberch to the left. James McConnell will be on the bench regardless of whether Szoboszlai is or isn’t.

Attack: Elliott, Gakpo, Diaz

Mohamed Salah (muscle fatigue) and Darwin Nunez (muscle tightness) missed the 4-1 win over Luton. Like Szoboszlai, they are only expected to start on the bench under the arch to offer game-changing options in the second half – if they appear in the squad at all.

With Diogo Jota out for the foreseeable future with a knee problem, Liverpool’s only fully-fit senior attackers – Cody Gakpo and Luis Diaz – will start. They both scored against Luton, as did Harvey Elliott deputising in Salah’s right wing role.

The England under-21 international will start again having also started all of the last five games in this competition. Centre-forward Gakpo is the second highest scorer in the Carabao Cup with four goals and will carry much of the goalscoring burden.

Predicted Liverpool XI vs Chelsea in full: Kelleher; Bradley, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Endo, Mac Allister, Gravenberch; Elliott, Gakpo, Diaz

Predicted bench: Adrian; Tsimikas, Gomez, Quansah; McConnell, Szoboszlai; Salah, Nunez, Gordon

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