Jurgen Klopp set for Gini Wijnaldum decision as Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara take step forward – Liverpool Echo

The 7-0 scoreline wasn’t the only thing that left Jurgen Klopp delighted at Crystal Palace.

While the emphatic, statement-making manner of the victory was the key takeaway, there were other aspects that will have also pleased the Liverpool boss.

In defence, Joel Matip returned to the side and turned in another accomplished performance alongside Fabinho.

The defender’s durability issues remain, but questions over his quality do not; the centre-back has been one of the Reds’ outstanding performers this season.

In midfield, there was also the welcome sight of Naby Keita pulling the strings while also shouldering a fair portion of 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 across the last two-and-a-half years.

This, though, was a big step forward in his latest attempt to catch fire again.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah

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And there was more festive joy to be spread by the re-appearance of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

His first 15-minute cameo of the campaign yielded an assist for Mohamed Salah, who wrapped up proceedings with a stunning seventh.

And with an eight-day gap in between fixtures, Klopp has the kind of luxury he has only been able to dream about so far this season.

The break affords him and his players the opportunity to fully prepare for the visit from West Brom on December 27.

At a time when much of the division is knee-deep in festive fixtures, Liverpool’s rare time off means they can really turn the screw at the summit.

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

Alisson Becker will retain his place in goal and given Klopp was optimistic about his players avoiding any knocks at Palace, it is expected the same back four will also turn out.

Andy Robertson has been one of Liverpool’s most regular performers this term, but with an injury to Kostas Tsimikas at present, the Scotland captain will start.

As will Trent Alexander-Arnold on the other side and provided Matip has no additional complaints this week, he and Fabinho will likely extend their partnership at the heart of the defence.

Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams wait in reserve if there is an issue to contend with at centre-back.

It is in midfield where the big selection posers present themselves.

Gini Wijnaldum has been Liverpool’s iron man this season, missing just two games in 23 this term, so might this be an ideal time to give him some extra time off?

The availability of Keita might just give Klopp the chance to do that, but given his implicit trust in the Dutchman, it would be no surprise to see Wijnaldum continue against the Baggies.

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

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool

Oxlade-Chamberlain, meanwhile, might just be held back for another second-half cameo given he has played just 15 minutes all season.

Thiago Alcantara is nearing a return to the squad, but a place on the bench is likely to be the summit of his ambitions for this particular game after nearly two-and-a-half months on the shelf.

Up top, given their stunning displays at Selhurst Park – and the fact that Diogo Jota is still out – expect Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino to be given the chance to add their collective haul of 27 goals.