Reds must win, hope Citizens slip up


Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara should be joined by Henderson and Keita in the midfield against Wolves. — AFP

IT ALL boils down to final day drama.

Liverpool must win against Wolverhampton Wanderers while hoping that Manchester City drop points against Aston Villa to bring the Premier League trophy back to Merseyside. There is no two ways about it.

Jurgen Klopp will need to field his strongest side possible to put Wolves to the sword at Anfield to remain in contention.

The Reds, however, have some injury concerns with Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and, most recently, Joe Gomez.

Salah, who limped out in the first half during the FA Cup finals victory over Chelsea last week, and van Dijk, who also sustained an injury, were both left out of the squad during the 2-1 win over Southampton in midweek.

While Klopp had earlier allayed fears that their injuries were not serious, it is still a concern whether they will be fit enough to face Wolves.

But if Salah is to be fit, there is a big chance that he will play, especially when his status as the league’s top scorer is under threat from Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min, who is just one goal behind with 21.

Salah will surely need to get back to speed and rediscover his scoring boots, having last scored a brace against Manchester United about a month ago, to be ready for the UEFA Champions League finals against Real Madrid.

There is also the question – whether the German would risk playing them when the Champions League finals’ game is just a week away.

Klopp should be assured that even without Salah, van Dijk and Fabinho, the Reds are still capable of putting on a dominating display as shown at St Mary’s Stadium.

Roberto Firmino, back against the Saints after nursing a lingering injury, was the unsung hero as he led the line alongside Diogo Jota and Takumi Minamino.

The Brazilian was brilliant with his movements and touches, causing trouble for the Saints’ defence.Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz, rested in midweek, should be thrust back into the starting line-up against Wolves, to get some rhythm before the big game in Paris.

In midfield, Jordan Henderson will take over the number six role as Fabinho is still sidelined.

His partners in midfield should be Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita.

In the heart of defence, Joel Matip should get the nod to start. His partner will be a toss between Ibrahima Konate and van Dijk, whose fitness will be assessed to determine whether he can play.

It must also be pointed out that Konate has not lost a game while playing for Liverpool and the big Frenchman’s strength and speed are truly a force to be reckoned with.

Fortunately for Liverpool, Wolves are not themselves of late, losing three times and drawing twice in their past five matches.

It is not to say that Bruno Lage’s men are not dangerous, as they can still pose a threat to the Reds but it will all come down to determination and which side is hungrier.As it stands, Liverpool cannot afford to lose but no matter what happens at the final whistle, trust that Klopp’s team has truly given their all and everyone at the club and fans around the world should be proud of their achievements so far.

With two trophies in the cabinet, it is already a wonderful and successful season.

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