Liverpool's new XI: How will Christian Benteke fit into their team?
Last Updated: 03/08/15 3:51pm
How will Liverpool line-up on the first weekend of the new Premier League season?
After Christian Benteke completed his big-money move from Aston Villa, and Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Nathaniel Clyne and Danny Ings among other new arrivals this summer, boss Brendan Rodgers has options to choose from for Liverpool's opener against Stoke.
Liverpool lost 6-1 at the Britannia on the final day of the 2014/15 season. Here’s how they lined up that day…
And here’s how Liverpool could set up when they return to face Stoke on August 9...
Simon Mignolet remains the first-choice shot-stopper for Liverpool, after overcoming a drop-off in performance midway through last season to finish the campaign strongly. Adam Bogdan was signed on a free transfer from Bolton in the summer but will begin his Anfield career as a back-up to the Belgian.
Clyne, Liverpool’s £10m signing from Southampton, is set to come into the backline, offering the Reds added impetus down the right flank. Rodgers’ side ended last season with Emre Can operating out of position at right-back, but Clyne should offer more expertise in this area of the pitch. However, fellow new recruit Joe Gomez – the 18-year-old centre-back signed from Charlton – may have to wait his turn behind first-choice pairing Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho, with Alberto Moreno likely to continue at left-back.
The arrival of Clyne allows Can to compete for a spot in his favoured central-midfield role, and the former Bayer Leverkusen man, who impressed with Germany’s U21s at the European Championships this summer, could be asked to sit in front of the Reds’ defence. That would allow Rodgers to pair new club captain Jordan Henderson with former Man City midfielder Milner in the centre of the park – an industrious duo.
With Daniel Sturridge still recovering from injury and set to miss the opening weeks of the campaign, Firmino and Benteke are likely to get their opportunity to stake a claim for a regular first-term berth. With the Belgian international leading the line, Brazilian Firmino could operate as a creative force off the centre forward, while last season’s player of the year, Philippe Coutinho, is likely to get the nod to kick-off the new term in attack, too.
That XI would leave Rodgers with plenty of options on the bench, from the defensive skills of Kolo Toure and Dejan Lovren to the creative flair of Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic and the attacking threat of Ings and Mario Balotelli.
With youngsters Jordon Ibe, Joao Teixeira and Divock Origi also featuring prominently in Liverpool’s pre-season tour, there is sure to be plenty of competition for places in the club’s first-team in the upcoming campaign.