Liverpool will undoubtedly be reeling from their shock defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion last time out in the Premier League. The Reds struggled immensely to make any sort of impact in the final third and as such, Robert Sanchez had quite an easy evening.
The Seagulls scraped through with a gargantuan three points thanks to a goal from Steven Alzate to go ahead just after half-time. Liverpool suffered the defeat on home soil, breaking the myth that Anfield is, and will remain a fortress.
Attention now shifts to their next league hurdle. The reigning champions will take on the season’s leaders in Manchester City and it will be a juicy watch for the neutrals.
Pep Guardiola and his men are unbeaten in their last 20 matches and have won the last 13 in a row, according to Sofascore. They are in blistering form despite not having Sergio Aguero and will be hungry to further upset Liverpool and their reigning season as champions.
After losing three of their last five fixtures, the Reds will be desperate to make a swift comeback against rivals City. But to do so, Klopp must reconsider the options he fielded against Brighton.
Starting Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would be a bold but strong move from the German gaffer. The loss against Brighton showed that Liverpool rapidly ran out of options when it came to their creativity. According to Sofascore, Gini Wijnaldum had a poor performance in midfield, managing just 36 touches before he was hauled off the pitch. This is less than Caoimhin Kelleher put in, which is a concerning stat for a creative midfielder.
Indeed, Wijnaldum looked a shadow of the man who showed up against West Ham to grab himself one of Liverpool’s three goals.
For this reason, Klopp must consider his options and start the more elusive Oxlade-Chamberlain. The England international enjoys taking a crack at goal from outside the box, which could be exactly what the Reds need to thwart Guardiola’s tight defence.
The £21.6million-rated midfielder scored a goal of this nature against City before now. His wonder strike back in 2018 in the Champions League is undoubtedly one of his career highlights and arguably one of the goals of the competition.
The former Gunners ace has the raw pace and power of a winger, but brings it into a more central area, and that directness is what saw him average more shots and key passes than the Dutchman in the Premier League last season.
Having someone who can take a player on and beat them with a quick change of direction when defenders are camped back could be game-changing, with others having to desperately come back in and leaving their own man open. And then, you’ve got Oxlade-Chamberlain’s blistering pace to consider if Liverpool win the ball back and look to counter themselves.
If Klopp deploys the 27-year-old over Wijnaldum on Sunday, he has more chance of Liverpool finding their past a City side that has conceded just two goals in their last ten fixtures. It could be a real game-changer for the Reds.