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Nunez starts in predicted Liverpool lineup for Klopp’s final game

Written by on May 19, 2024

Jurgen Klopp will walk out on Sunday afternoon to listen to Anfield’s song from the dugout one last time, with Liverpool hosting Wolverhampton Wanderers on the final day of the Premier League season.

This day has been signposted right from the German’s shock news back in January that he would be stepping down after taking the reins in 2015 and leading Liverpool to glory across all the different fronts. But it hurts all the same. Such things invariably do.

Klopp will take great solace and pride in his ability to recraft his team after slumping into the Europa League, banishing the sapped and past-its-sell-by midfield and replacing it with some terrific, younger, more inspiring talent.

The Reds won the Carabao Cup in February, belying a staggering injury list, but proved to be a day late and a dollar short in the other three prizes, suffering from a nosedive in form and performance to crash out of the FA Cup and Europa League and slew off-course in the Premier League late on.

Wolves will certainly not roll over to hand Klopp the fairytale final day that Anfield will pray for, though Liverpool’s firepower should be enough to secure three points and finish an impressive campaign with 82 points.

After collapsing to draw 3-3 at Aston Villa last time, leggy Liverpool might find four tweaks made to the starting line-up as Klopp bows out.

1

GK – Alisson

Alisson has undoubtedly been one of the major pillars throughout Klopp’s reign, signing from Roma for a record £67m fee back in 2018 and going on to win the Champions League and Premier League across his first two seasons as a Red.

He’s suffered with injuries this season but the Brazilian is, as Klopp puts it, “the best goalkeeper in the world” and will, of course, be vital against the Old Gold.

2

RB – Trent Alexander-Arnold


Trent Alexander-Arnold for Liverpool

Trent Alexander-Arnold has also struggled for match fitness for portions of the season but Liverpool’s vice-captain is one of the game’s celestial creative players.

The right-back will be expected to play a big part in the years to come under incoming boss Arne Slot but he’s out of contract at the end of next season and, with Real Madrid sniffing around, there is heightened concern that tomorrow might be his final appearance for his boyhood club.

3

CB – Jarell Quansah


Liverpool defender Jarell Quansah.

The rise of Jarell Quansah has been one of the biggest success stories this season, especially considering that the imminently departing Joel Matip suffered an ACL injury against Fulham in December.

Listed as a similar player to Ibrahima Konate and Micky van de Ven by FBref’s player comparison model, the new kid on the block has been immense throughout his breakthrough season, scoring his first Premier League goal last time out at Villa Park.

He earned his first Premier League start at Molineux in the reverse fixture and earned an 8/10 match rating from reporter Ian Doyle for his front-footed, commanding display.

4

CB – Virgil van Dijk


Virgil van Dijk for Liverpool

In his first campaign as Liverpool captain, Virgil van Dijk has been a rock-solid presence in the rearguard, dealing with piling injury problems inflicted upon his peers to reaffirm his position as one of the game’s finest-ever centre-backs.

Wolves will have a tough task against the steely Dutchman.

5

LB – Andy Robertson


Andy Robertson in action for Liverpool.

Andy Robertson has struggled with injuries this season – there’s a trend here – but the 30-year-old is still one of the best in the business and has been vital in recent weeks, scoring in his last two games in the Premier League, against West Ham United and Spurs.

The Scotland captain also bagged against Wolves earlier in the campaign and his newfound Midas touch is another thing that the visitors will have to worry about tomorrow.

6

DM – Wataru Endo


Liverpool midfielder Wataru Endo

Liverpool’s decision to sign Wataru Endo last summer has proved to be an astute piece of business, succeeding Fabinho after the Brazilian stalwart fell by the wayside last year.

PL Stat Comparison: Wataru Endo 23/24 vs Fabinho 22/23

Stat

Endo

Fabinho

Matches played

28

36

Matches started

19

31

Goals

1

0

Assists

0

2

Pass completion

88%

89%

Touches per game

53.3

59.6

Key passes per game

0.5

0.5

Ball recoveries per game

3.6

6.0

Tackles per game

1.6

1.8

Interceptions per game

0.7

1.0

Dribbles per game

0.4 (71%)

0.2 (64%)

Duels won per game

3.9 (45%)

3.5 (50%)

All stats via Sofascore

All things considered, Liverpool’s surprise £16m signing has been an upgrade on last season’s version of Fabinho. But the 31-year-old is not the long-term solution and Liverpool’s new structure must make the pursuit of a high-level No. 6 one of the first ports of call this summer.

7

CM – Dominik Szoboszlai


Dominik Szoboszlai scores for Liverpool

Dominik Szoboszlai has lost his way after a resounding start to life on Merseyside, signing from RB Leipzig for £60m last summer, but he deserves to start against Wolves.

Liverpool are, frankly, a team in need of a rest and Klopp must bench the impressive Harvey Elliott to freshen things up and give his high-profile Hungarian signing one last chance to make an impression in 2023/24.

8

CM – Curtis Jones


Liverpool player Curtis Jones.

Curtis Jones suffered an ankle injury against Brentford in February that has disrupted his flow quite considerably over the past few months, starting just two of his team’s eight league games since returning to fitness.

But Alexis Mac Allister was noticeably leggy against Villa, and, with third place secured, Klopp should give the Scouse-born talent a final starting berth on Sunday.

Mac Allister was hailed as a “superstar” by Joe Cole earlier in the campaign and he has been one of Liverpool’s major focal points, but his 5/10 match rating at Villa Park suggests that perhaps he has run out of gas.

9

RW – Mohamed Salah


Mohamed Salah for Liverpool

Mohamed Salah is the forward of Klopp’s reign, scoring 211 goals and adding 89 assists across 348 outings for Liverpool. There’s room for one more on this final, fated day – surely?

10

LW – Luis Diaz


Liverpool winger Luis Diaz.

Liverpool’s indefatigable left winger has been in the news recently as speculation mounts over his future at Anfield but he’s sure to start once again against Gary O’Neil’s side, having featured from the outset in every Premier League fixture since January.

11

CF – Darwin Nunez


Darwin Nunez looks frustrated for Liverpool

Klopp insisted that Darwin Nunez – Liverpool’s club-record £85m signing – is a “long-term project“, and sure, 18 goals and 13 assists in all competitions this season is not a bad return at all.

Cody Gakpo has been in fine form recently but Klopp might be inclined to hand his Uruguayan talisman one last chance to strut his stuff under his wing, eradicating the wastefulness that continues to blemish a remarkable skill set.

Predicted Liverpool line-up in full vs Wolves: (GK) Alisson; (RB) Trent Alexander-Arnold, (CB) Jarell Quansah, (CB) Virgil van Dijk, (LB) Andy Robertson; (DM) Wataru Endo, (CM) Dominik Szoboszlai, (CM) Curtis Jones; (RW) Mohamed Salah, (LW) Luis Diaz, (CF) Darwin Nunez

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