The advantage of squad depth is the ability to cover for injury, to allow rest for tired players, and to rotate for a specific opponent all while continuing to run out something resembling your best eleven. The downside is that if everybody’s fit and rested and ready to start, somebody who maybe shouldn’t be is sitting out.
Liverpool and manager Jürgen Klopp find themselves facing the problem of the downside as they prepare for Friday’s match against Chelsea, with their four key attacking players fit—and all, arguably, on good form. A surprise move for one into midfield on the road against a side as good as Chelsea isn’t happening. One will sit.
Sturridge was outstanding against Leicester on Saturday, providing the focal point around which Firmino and Mané excelled. It was his runs that opened space for Firmino on his first goal. He set up Mané’s second. And he got himself in position to score two goals that only the outstanding reactions of Kasper Schmeichel prevented.
Mané was strong again, scoring another goal. And he has been Liverpool’s player of the season so far. His speed has been key to unlocking stubborn defences, and his absence was keenly felt in Liverpool’s only loss of the season so far. Meanwhile, Firmino is in top form and was Man of the Match against Leicester City.
Then there’s Coutinho, who was the choice to sit on Saturday following his lengthy trip over the international break, but who last season was the club’s key attacker and who carried Liverpool to victory against Arsenal on the opening day of the season—an opening day that’s not so very far in the past as to be easy to forget about.
One will sit out against Chelsea, whether as a tactical choice to give Liverpool the ability to change things up late if it’s necessary or simply because Klopp currently prefers the other three attacking options he has on hand. But before we get to that, we want to know, which of the three would you sit on Friday?