Liverpool has had a strong start to their English Premier League campaign
thus far. However, it has not been the prettiest of starts to a season and it
runs the risk of being a little less pretty, at least in terms of passing
ability, this weekend against Southampton.
The loss of young Brazilian starlet Philippe Coutinho for six weeks following an operation to repair a punctured shoulder muscle sustained when he tumbled to the ground following a clumsy Ashley Williams tackle against Swansea City Monday night has presented the club with an interesting selection question ahead of Saturday's match.
Above you can see what it likely to be the most predicted and most projected first team for the Reds now that Coutinho is out and Luis Suarez still has this last match to sit out before he can return next week.
Iago Aspas looks to obvious choice to replace Coutinho as he was selected to do so after his teammate was subbed off this week. However, Aspas never became relevant against Swansea and other than his little bit of trickery just before the whistle that saw him try to create a goal chance at the death, he was vacant from the action.
His early season form when in the
starting eleven has seemed much more in-tune with the matches for the opening
60 minutes or so before he starts to fade. Aspas can be a lively spark to the side but does not look like he has a future as a super sub.
Enter Victor Moses, the on loan
Chelsea wide player showed the best of why he has been so highly rated at times
in his first showing for the Reds. But, the question will be if he can sustain
that form throughout continued first team selection or if he will wander in and out of form throughout the season.
What would be interesting to see would be for Brendan Rodgers to mix things up a bit and bring Raheem Sterling back into the first team, switch Moses to the opposite flank and allow Jordan Henderson a chance to push through the middle.
Aside from bringing Sterling back into the lineup, Martin Kelly also deserves a recall. During his prematch press conference, Rodgers mentioned that Kelly had been making strong strides back to full fitness in the reserves.
This week Kelly captained the Liverpool U21’s to a comeback 5-2 victory over Sunderland’s U21 Premier League table toppers and thoroughly has earned a chance to return. Andre Wisdom has been decent enough, but Kelly is a much more complete stand in for Glen Johnson and offers more off an attacking ability as well.
In the long run Wisdom and Aspas made my boring prediction for the first team, but if I had it my way the lineup below is how we would start against Southampton from the whistle in front of the Anfield crowd.
Thomas is the Managing Editor of SWOL.co, follow him @socceratz.