Date:16th April 2022 at 11:00am
Written by:

The Premier League’s top two lock horns once again on Saturday, as Manchester City and Liverpool go head to head for a place in the FA Cup final.

The two sides played out a thrilling 2-2 draw in the league last Sunday, a result that means there is still just a single point separating the two at the top of the table.

Jurgen Klopp’s side came from behind twice to secure a point at The Etihad a week ago, but will be hoping to go one better this time around and set up a cup final with either Chelsea or Crystal Palace.

Here, we predict the XI that the German will select to take on City.

Goalkeeper

Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson sat out the Carabao Cup final in February as youngster Caoimhin Kelleher continued his stretch as the Reds’ cup goalkeeper, but Klopp’s number one will likely start against City. The Brazil international, a teammate of City ‘keeper Ederson, has started in each of the last two rounds of the competition, and is expected to continue and make his 11th consecutive start in all competitions.

Defenders

At the back, Klopp will go with Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right and will be hoping that the England international can have an effect going forward again. At The Etihad, the full-back coped well defensively and offered a lot going forward too, providing the assist for Diogo Jota’s equaliser in the first half.

Andy Robertson will likely return to the Reds’ starting XI

At centre-back, Virgil van Dijk will most likely be partnered by Joel Matip. With the exception of two games missed in December due to Covid, the Dutchman has played every minute of Liverpool’s Premier League campaign so far, and has also played in three of their four FA Cup ties. Matip, meanwhile, partnered Ibrahima Konate in the midweek draw with Benfica, but has established himself in Klopp’s first choice pairing and will expect to start at Wembley.

On the left, Andy Robertson will resume his post at full-back having sat out the Champions League game on Wednesday. Kostas Tsimikas impressed when deputising for the Scot in midweek, but Robertson will be deployed to combat the threat of City’s relentless frontline.

Midfielders

Klopp’s midfield selection is always crucial, and rarely more so than on Saturday as City will be missing Kevin De Bruyne. Fabinho is a certainty to start at the base of the Reds’ midfield trio, most likely flanked by Thiago and Jordan Henderson. The Brazilian was uncharacteristically sloppy in parts last weekend, and will be looking to return to his usual form this time around. Captain Henderson and Spaniard Thiago also both started against City last time, but Klopp will be looking for improvement from his midfield as a whole. Naby Keita will most likely be used from the bench once again.

Forwards

Firmino scored a brace in midweek against Benfica

Klopp’s frontline selection last weekend surprised many, with the in form Luis Diaz a notable omission. The Colombian will most likely start on Saturday, though, having impressed as a substitute at The Etihad. Through the middle, Roberto Firmino could be deployed to give City’s backline a different dynamic to deal with. The Brazilian scored twice in midweek against Benfica, and has scored five times against City during his time in England. Mohamed Salah will likely start on the other side of Firmino, meaning Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota can expect to be among the substitutes. The Egyptian is enjoying a remarkable season once again, but his form has dipped of late, and he has scored just once since the end of February.

Less than a week after their pulsating draw and having both played in the Champions League in midweek, it may be a push to expect an encounter as entertaining as the last when these two sides meet on Saturday. With so much at stake, though, it will undoubtedly be an interesting one.

 
Brought to you by Shoot!