Liverpool face Naby Keita choice and front three set for complete change – Liverpool Echo

Liverpool came from behind to defeat Newcastle United 3-1 in their final game of 2019/20 and complete the most-dominant league season in the club’s history.

The victory ensured that the Premier League champions racked up 99 points for the campaign – a Reds record and the second-highest total ever in the English top flight after Manchester City went ton up in 2018.

Liverpool secured their crown with the most games remaining – they still had seven games left when Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Manchester City ensured they couldn’t be caught – and since then Jurgen Klopp has been able to indulge in some experimental line-ups and shuffle his pack.

The trip to St James’ Park was no different but come the first Premier League game of the coronavirus-delayed 2020/21 season on the weekend of September 12, what changes might the manager make?

So long as they’re fit you’d expect Alisson, Andy Robertson and Virgil van Dijk all to start the opening fixture next term but the other couple of positions in the back five are more up for grabs.

Joe Gomez will be in with a decent chance of retaining his place in the heart of defence although he could face competition from Joel Matip and whoever Klopp might well recruit as Dejan Lovren’s replacement.

At right-back you would expect Welsh teenager Neco Williams to make way for Trent Alexander-Arnold, just as he did for the last five minutes on Tyneside.

Midfield is an area where there are plenty of alternatives to consider.

Captain Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, who was on the bench against the Magpies, would both expect to be recalled with Gini Wijnaldum – in featured in all but one of Liverpool’s Premier League games this season – perhaps best placed to retain his starting spot.

That would mean both Naby Keita, who finally showed some glimpses of his potential late in the campaign, and veteran James Milner, both stepping down.

Keita would be best placed to push Wijnaldum and start the season as he left off.

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However, if Klopp did land a big name target like Thiago Alcantara who has been strongly linked with a potential move to Liverpool then this could shake things up even more.

Up front you’d expect it to be all change with none of the Reds fabled front three having started against Steve Bruce’s side.

Timo Werner is heading to Chelsea rather Liverpool but might Klopp still land a new face to supplement his attack?

Either way, you’d think it will be Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi all out and Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino back in.