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The Heavily Rotated XI Liverpool Could Put Out Against Plymouth

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool looks on prior to the Premier League match between Sunderland and Liverpool at Stadium of Light on January 2, 2017 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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Liverpool welcome League Two side Plymouth Argyle to Anfield this weekend, looking to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Manager Jurgen Klopp knows that anything other than a win for his side would be hugely embarrassing for the club so victory will be demanded from whatever side he puts out.

Fixture congestion around this time last year meant that he had to field a team made up almost entirely of under-21 and fringe squad players (some of whom were making their senior debuts) against Exeter, a move that ended with an awkward 2-2 draw at St. James’s Park.

Although Klopp probably won’t go to those extreme lengths this time (as the fixture list is a bit kinder), he is still likely to rotate. Speaking to reporters ahead of this weekend’s game, Klopp outlined snippets of his thoughts regarding team selection, as well as who will miss the fixture through injury.

Joel Matip and Philippe Coutinho will not be risked, nor will James Milner or Jordan Henderson, while Daniel Sturridge still hasn’t returned to training after the injury he picked up at Sunderland earlier in the week.

With Sadio Mané also unavailable through involvement in the African Cup of Nations, Liverpool will look very different on Sunday.

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Goalkeeper:

Loris Karius

SWANSEA, WALES - OCTOBER 01: Loris Karius of Liverpool gives his defenders instructions  during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Liverpool at Liberty Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Klopp all-but confirmed that Karius would be returning to the Liverpool starting lineup for Sunday. The 23-year-old was originally supposed to be Simon Mignolet’s replacement but a number of underwhelming performances forced the manager to take him out of the firing line.

How Karius plays in this game could have a big bearing on his future at the club.

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Defenders:

Right-Back: Trent Alexander-Arnold

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool in action during the Liverpool v Sunderland Premier League 2 match on September 25, 2016 in Birkenhead, England. (Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Centre-Back: Lucas Leiva

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29:  Lucas Leiva of Liverpool beats Souleymane Doukara of Leeds United to the ball during the EFL Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on November 29, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Centre-Back: Joe Gomez

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 29: Joe Gomez of Liverpool in aciton  during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield on August 29, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Left-Back: Alberto Moreno

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29:  Alberto Moreno of Liverpool takes on Hadi Sacko of Leeds United during the EFL Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on November 29, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The likelihood is that all of Liverpool’s starting defenders will be rested, especially with an EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Southampton to come three days later.

Young Alexander-Arnold has been used by Klopp in the EFL Cup thus far, as have Lucas and Moreno, and this will probably the case in this early round of the FA Cup too.

The big talking point, however, will be the inclusion of Joe Gomez. The England under-21 international began last season as a first-choice defender in Brendan Rodgers’ side, though a serious injury put him out of action for over a year. However, Klopp heavily implied that he would be starting against Plymouth, saying it “wouldn’t be the biggest surprise” if he got the nod.

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Midfielders:

Defensive Midfield: Kevin Stewart

STEVENAGE, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Kevin Stewart of Liverpool holds off Joe Pritchard of Tottenham during the Premier League 2 match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at The Lamex Stadium on September 19, 2016 in Stevenage, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Centre Midfield: Gini Wijnaldum

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02:  Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool in action during the Premier League match between Sunderland and Liverpool at Stadium of Light on January 2, 2017 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Centre Midfield: Ovie Ejaria

PASADENA, CA - JULY 27:  Ovie Ejaria #53 of Liverpool in action against Chelsea during the 2016 International Champions Cup at Rose Bowl on July 27, 2016 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Kevin Stewart has built up a status as a Klopp favourite – despite rarely being handed Premier League minutes the Liverpool manager has resisted all attempts from other clubs to sign him. He has started in Liverpool’s cup games so far and there is little reason why that should change at the weekend.

Ovie Ejaria is a highly-rated prospect in the Liverpool youth set-up. The 19-year-old attacking midfielder has made two (brief) substitute appearances in the Premier League this season, as well as playing in all three of the side’s EFL Cup games, so he can be expected to start.

The final midfield spot would normally be taken by Serbian international Marko Grujic – but with the 20-year-old still suffering with the effects of a tendon injury, and Cameron Brannagan also injured, either of Gini Wijnaldum or Emre Can are likely to be asked to fill the void in midfield.

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Forwards:

Right Wing: Ben Woodburn

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Ben Woodburn of Liverpool scores the second and celebrates . Makes him the youngest ever goalscorer for liverpool during the EFL Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on November 29, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Left Wing: Sheyi Ojo

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Sheyi Ojo of Liverpool and Chiori Johnson of Arsenal in action during the Premier League 2 match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on December 12, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Striker: Divock Origi

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 31:  Divock Origi of Liverpool closes down Nicolas Otamendi of Manchester City  during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield on December 31, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Ben Woodburn is yet to start a senior game for Liverpool, but that could all change on Sunday. The extremely highly-rated forward shot to the wider country’s attention when he became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer in a 2-0 win against Leeds earlier this season, and the 17-year-old could be given the chance to impress even further against Plymouth.

Sheyi Ojo, meanwhile, has endured a tough few months. The winger finished last season strongly, making a number of Premier League starts for the side and looking like seriously pushing for a first team role in this campaign. However, a back injury has ruled him out up until recently, so he will be determined to make up for lost time.

Unless Klopp decides to go left field and call up someone like Harry Wilson or Brooks Lennon from the youth team, then it is likely that Divock Origi will start up front. The manager will be somewhat apprehensive about playing the Belgian international with tough games against Southampton and Manchester United in the days after, but there is very little alternative.

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Author: The PA Team

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