Liverpool team news: Expected 4-3-3 vs Everton – Joe Gomez dilemma, Thiago Alcantara back

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp must decide whether to keep the faith with Joe Gomez in central defence or swap him for Joel Matip or Fabinho. The defender struggled in the 7-2 humiliation at the hands of Aston Villa before the international break and was brought off after an hour.

Fabinho deputised brilliantly while Gomez was out injured in the win at Chelsea last month while Matip is back after a muscle injury.

And Klopp could opt to give England international Gomez time out of the team at Goodison Park given the red-hot form of Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

If he picks Fabinho alongside Virgil van Dijk, returning captain Jordan Henderson or Thiago Alcantara – back in training after a 10-day isolation period following his positive COVID-19 test – could take up the No 6 role in midfield.

And in order to get both Henderson and Thiago into the team, without having to sacrifice Gini Wijnaldum, Klopp could drop Fabinho into the back-line with a clash against Everton perhaps too tricky a task to ask Matip to come straight back into the side for.

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With Fabinho and Van Dijk in defence, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold will line up on either side as they still seek their first away Merseyside derby victories.

Adrian will continue in goal with the Reds opting against signing another back-up shot-stopper while Alisson remains out injured before yesterday’s domestic transfer window deadline.

He will hope for an improved display after making an error to allow Villa to take an early 1-0 lead last time out.

If Fabinho drops into the defence, Klopp must then pick between Thiago and Henderson at the base of midfield and the skipper is the favourite given his authority in the middle and the extra running he will offer in front of the back-line.

Naby Keita is unavailable for the away side, joining Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the sidelines.

Thiago and Wijnaldum would then operate slightly ahead of the Liverpool leader with Thiago tasked with finding the space for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Mane returns to the team after missing the Villa debacle having, like Thiago, tested positive for coronavirus.

Roberto Firmino is likely to keep his place through the middle and complete the familiar front three despite Diogo Jota’s display for Portugal this week on international duty.

Klopp came out in full defence of the Brazilian on the eve of the short journey across Stanley Park amid criticism over his lack of goals.

Firmino is yet to find the net in 10 matches against Everton and the German coach said: “I don’t know when it becomes a problem for me…but it is not even close to becoming a problem.

“These are the things where I have to be different to the outside world. I can’t judge moments, periods, like you judge them – for me what is important is how influential the player is, how he works for the team.

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“We lost the last Premier League game – before that we had won them all. Bobby hadn’t scored in them but he had been incredibly influential. That is what is important.

“Yes, we want him to score. We want him to come in the positions where he scores. Yes could have scored at Villa, early. And plenty, twice for sure.

“If a player like Bobby is not scoring, people focus on that. Then you realise sometimes that even from time-to-time he loses the ball. So people ask: ‘Is that Bobby Firmino?’ Yes it is. He scored twice for Brazil. He is in a top shape, to be honest.”

And Klopp added, as his side look to bounce back from the loss at Villa and avoid back-to-back Premier League defeats for the first time in his five-year Anfield tenure: “I got that feeling more and more during the hours after the game that maybe after all the positive things that happened to us it needed a proper knock in the middle of our faces to shake us up.

“There is no other reason why 7-2 should be good. But if it was for that reason, then it could have been the most important game of the season.

“And that is why we will try to use it, why we don’t want to forget it.”

Liverpool have not lost a derby against Everton since October 2010 but Klopp warned: “Of course from my point of view long may it [Liverpool’s unbeaten run vs Everton] continue, but we never really thought about it before we played them.

“Before we played Everton not once did we think ‘they don’t win anyway’, these kind of things we never had in our minds. It’s hardest work for us tomorrow and we will be ready for that.”

Predicted Liverpool XI to face Everton

(4-3-3): Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Thiago, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.

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