Liverpool fans have a sour taste in their mouth after seeing the starting XI.
The German tactician has decided to give rest to first-team regulars, including Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and talisman Mohamed Salah. Instead, Klopp has gone with a new-look defense comprising of Joe Gomez, Kostas Tsimikas and Ibrahima Konate.
Club-captain Jordan Henderson is joined by Naby Keita and vice-captain James Milner. Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota and new signing Luis Daiz make up the front three.
Liverpool fans on Twitter have been shell-shocked after seeing the team put out to face Benfica at Anfield. Some believe that Klopp is taking the game too lightly and underestimating the opposition.
Here are some tweets in that regard:
Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk are two of the most notable absentees from the starting XI. Salah has been Liverpool’s leading goalscorer this season, having netted 28 times in 39 appearances across all competitions.
However, it is worth noting that Jurgen Klopp did hint at some rotation ahead of their game against Benfica. The German boss said the following in the pre-match press conference:
“The next game has no influence on the lineup for tomorrow night, but the last game has. We have to see, a really super-intense schedule. No one injured as far as I know, in this moment but we need to have a look at who is fresh enough for this game.”
Liverpool in pole position to qualify for the semifinals after 3-1 first leg win
SL Benfica v Liverpool FC Quarter Final Leg One – UEFA Champions League
Despite the starting XI, Jurgen Klopp’s side are in pole position to make it through to the semifinals of the Champions League. The Reds secured a hard-fought 3-1 win against Benfica in Portugal a week ago in the first leg of their quarterfinals tie. Ibrahima Konate, Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz were the goalscorers on that occasion.
However, things might not be as straightforward as it seems for Liverpool. It is worth mentioning that they suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Inter Milan in the second leg of the Round of 16 of the Champions League. However, they won the first leg at the San Siro by a margin of 2-0.
The winner of this tie will face La Liga side Villarreal in the semifinals. Unai Emery’s side caused a major upset by knocking out German giants Bayern Munich in their quarterfinals tie.
Liverpool are currently chasing an unprecedented quadruple after already lifting the Carabao Cup back in February. Every game from now until the end of the season is crucial for Jurgen Klopp’s side going forward.
Following their game against Benfica, the Reds will shift their attention to the semifinals of the FA Cup where they will face rivals Manchester City.