Liverpool put in one of their best performances of the season last Thursday against Borussia Dortmund—maybe even their very best. On the surface at least, it would seem to make for a situation where manager Jürgen Klopp would have an easy choice to make when it came to the lineup for the second leg.
The only problem would be that a heavily changed side followed up last Thursday’s Europa League draw against favoured Dortmund by putting four past Stoke in a comfortable victory over the weekend. It’s a good problem to have, perhaps, but it still means there are some choices for Klopp to make over the next few days.
"It’s a good thing if I have to think about the lineups or something," said the Liverpool manager. "That’s what I do most of the time, to be honest. So if all the players play like this then I have to make hard decisions. That’s the best thing to do as a manager, and maybe we will have some hard decisions to make for Thursday."
One change he will have no choice but to make will come in midfield, where Jordan Henderson’s injury will mean having to decide on who start in his place. On recent form, it would seem Joe Allen will get the nod, but Klopp could also choose Lucas Leiva depending on how he wants to approach Thursday’s match.
If it’s a three-man midfield as it was against Dortmund last week, then Allen and Milner ahead of Emre Can seems likely. Allen has looked best further up the pitch, though, and if Klopp instead wants to deploy a double-pivot it could be Lucas alongside Can—at least if Lucas, who has only just returned from injury, is up to it.
Elsewhere, the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana do seem likely to return to the starting lineup after being rested on Sunday, but there’s room for a surprise from Klopp. There’s also the question of how he deploys his strikers, with both Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi fit to start—and both looking good over the weekend.
"It was important we could rest Phil Coutinho," added the manager. "Adam Lallana played only 30 minutes, okay, but he was still running all over the pitch. Mama could watch the game very relaxed with Dejan on the bench. It was really good for us."