Sadio Mane Injury Concern Against Sheffield United

Sadio Mane Injury
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22: Sadio Mane of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge on September 22, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)

Following a successful away trip to MK Dons in midweek, Jurgen Klopp’s side will return to Premier League action at the weekend. Liverpool will be aiming to make it seven wins from seven against newly-promoted Sheffield United. This will open up a temporary eight-point gap over Manchester City. Whilst the youngsters impressed in the Carabao Cup, the Premier League is the top priority this season. This means that the seniors, such as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, will be restored.

Mane Injury Concern Against Sheffield United

The Mane Man

Every single point in the Premier League matters. And, if Liverpool want to win the tournament, it is difficult to look past the front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino for the attacking berths. Injuries to Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri mean that the standard front three should be starting this game. This is especially considering that they were given the night off in the cup.

However, there are fitness concerns for Mane too. The winger came off with an injury against Chelsea though assistant manager Pep Ljinders said he should return to training on Thursday. Should the Senegalese not be fit to start, the squad will be stretched. Thus there could be a Premier League debut for either Rhian Brewster or Harvey Elliott. Either way, expect at least one of the youngsters to be on the bench on Saturday following impressive performances in midweek. Naby Keita or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could also slot in on the left if required, though this seems unlikely.

Familiar Faces in Defence

Despite an impressive performance in midweek from Caohmin Kelleher, Adrian will return to goalkeeping duties against the Blades as Alisson is still injured. There should also be a return to the more familiar defence of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Andrew Robertson. However, Joe Gomez impressed in midweek and could be in line for a start.

The standard defensive unit have still only kept one clean sheet this season. They will be hoping for one against the Blades. However, it should be noted that this is far from the disaster that that stat in isolation suggests – the Reds have actually conceded the joint-fewest goals in the league (alongside Leicester City) with 5. This is one fewer than both Manchester City and Manchester United.

Options in Midfield

Liverpool are yet to lose a league game where Fabinho has started. His quality should see him restored to the starting line up. Klopp has a selection dilemma for the other two spots though. Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum will be raring to go after being rested in midweek. Meanwhile, Naby Keita‘s return to fitness has bolstered the squad.

James Milner impressed at left-back against the Dons and will be hoping for a start in his more favoured position. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also enjoyed a fine performance in midweek and has an outside chance of starting. Adam Lallana also did well in the holding role, but Fabinho’s quality means that he will be set for bench duty.

Predicted XI

Most likely starting XI: Adrian, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane

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