The Liverpool lineup that should start against Man City

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Liverpool host Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday afternoon in a crunch battle between two of the Premier League’s top four.

Liverpool’s nightmarish 2021 didn’t get any better when they were stunned by Brighton in midweek to lose a second consecutive home game after previously going 68 unbeaten. But victory in this one to half that slump will cut the gap to the top of the table to only four points.

Jurgen Klopp’s team has been obliterated by injuries this season, but some key players could return for this one, while there may also be at least one debut.

Here’s a look at the starting XI the manager could pick…

Fabinho, Ashley Barnes
The return of Fabinho would be a much needed boost in defence | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Alisson (GK): Was well enough to return to training on Friday following a bout of illness, working individually to get himself back up to fitness. He would be expected to re-take his place from home-grown stand-in Caoimhin Kelleher.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB): It has been a difficult season for Liverpool’s home-grown star following a career year in 2019/20 during which he announced himself as world class.

Fabinho (CB): The Brazilian’s expected return is a welcome boost because Klopp is desperate to get Jordan Henderson back into midfield but has said that he doesn’t want to throw both of his new centre-backs in at the deep end together.

Ben Davies (CB): It is a baptism of fire for whichever of Liverpool’s new centre-backs gets the nod. Ozan Kabak has been granted international clearance, but Davies is more experienced as a professional and is at least accustomed to English football.

Andy Robertson (LB): The Scot continues to give his all and is lowkey perhaps one of the very first names on the team-sheet ahead of any of the attacking superstars.

Jordan Henderson
Klopp is desperate to get Jordan Henderson back in midfield | Pool/Getty Images

Jordan Henderson (CM): The captain will give the reigning champions better shape and more solidity in midfield if the situation at the back allows him to return to his usual role.

Georginio Wijnaldum (CM): Still one of Liverpool’s most influential players but there is the very real possibility he is nearing the end of his time at the club as his contract runs down.

Thiago Alcantara (CM): It is insane that more than halfway through his first season the former Bayern Munich star is yet to win at Anfield. Will this finally be the one? If Liverpool are to win it is crucial that he is on top of his game.

Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane could be back after two games out | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Mohamed Salah (RW): The Egyptian king is still the Premier League’s top scorer this season, although a brace against West Ham are his only league goals since Christmas.

Roberto Firmino (ST): The Brazilian has made direct goal contributions in eight Premier League games this season and Liverpool have won seven of them, so it is vital he is at the races.

Sadio Mane (LW): It might still be touch and go as to whether he is fit enough to return from the start after missing the last two games through injury, but the Senegal international has at least been back in training with the group since Friday.

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