Thanks to the Champions League delight last season, Liverpool are playing in the FIFA Club World Cup. Their campaign will start on Wednesday in the semi final against Liga MX side C.F. Monterrey and of course will progress to the final on Saturday should they win this game. Manager Jürgen Klopp is taking a 20 man squad, whose names were announced today on the official Liverpool website:
Alisson, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Mane, Salah, Gomez, Adrian, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Lonergan, Shaqiri, Robertson, Origi, Jones, Alexander-Arnold, Williams.
The first piece of news from this is that Gini Wijnaldum is travelling. This seemed unlikely considering the injury he sustained at home to Watford yesterday, so his inclusion can only be taken as a positive sign that he’s well on the mend. He’ll be needed with the fixture pile up at the moment, as will everyone.
The other big thing this confirms is that it will be very much a reserve side to take on Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday. This was to be expected, with the club having already announced that Liverpool Under 23s manager Neil Critchley would take the reins away at Villa Park. Critchley was quite open when discussing the fixture with the official site, talking of the opportunity for some younger players.
“This is the circumstance, or what’s arisen, and [for] me and the staff and our players it will be one that we relish and look forward to hopefully with great optimism on the night,” Critchley explained. “We had a few [young players] involved at MK Dons and more against Arsenal. Again, you have to give credit to the manager for playing these players. You look at the teamsheet against Arsenal and you see their team and you generally think, ‘OK, it’s going to be a tough old night this”.
Many of us have real concerns about the tournament in Qatar, but Liverpool have opted to send a full strength team to contest it. Plenty of football to watch this week, that’s for sure.