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Wijnaldum vs Milner vs Oxlade-Chamberlain: Who starts for Liverpool against Manchester United?

Liverpool have got a problem in their midfield and manager Jurgen Klopp will have a selection dilemma for their Manchester United game.

There is essentially one position available and it looks like it’ll be a straight shoot between James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Dutch international Wijnaldum has been Klopp’s preferred choice over the course of the season so far, but a limp and lifeless display against Newcastle United led to calls from fans for the former Magpie to be dropped.

Milner has hardly featured this term – but with the return of Philippe Coutinho could he be the missing piece of the jigsaw that provides stability, reliability and lets Jordan Henderson and Coutinho roam further up the pitch?

While Oxlade-Chamberlain chose Liverpool over Chelsea because he thought he’d get more chances to play in midfield – and while that has not yet materialised, the game against the Red Devils could be the ex-Southampton man’s time to shine.

For a start, Wijnaldum should get the axe. His form has been poor during 2017/2018 and even though he’s a home ground hero, the former PSV Eindhoven star doesn’t deserve to play. If Klopp rewards mediocrity, what message does that send to the rest of the squad?

So that leaves the Ox and Milner. Out of the two, my heart says the former and my head says the latter. It’s so true that the elder of the pair is a boring choice, but sometimes boring is nice. Boring is a 1-0 win. Boring keeps cleans sheets and wins league titles.

The ex-Manchester City man could also protect the defense better than the current midfield three have and allow Coutinho and Emre Can or Henderson to roam further forward. If anything, Can’s firecracker of a goal for Germany this week shows he can operate effectively further up the field.



Oxlade-Chamberlain, on the other hand, has the potential to be a very good player and the antithesis of Milner. He was signed on the promise of central midfield action and now is the time to give that to him.

He’s a good athlete and posses a wide range of skills. The former Arsenal man has also shown glimpses of his ability through the middle and a big game like the United one should bring the best out of good players.

A trio of Coutinho, Henderson/Can and Oxlade-Chamberlain should also get fans licking their lips and will certainly pose some challenges to Jose Mourinho and his Red Devils.

More importantly, in a home fixture Klopp needs to take the game by the scruff of the neck and that’s why the Ox should start on Saturday.



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  • Riiseandshine

    Hmm, Milner, Ox or Gini?? about Klopp squats over the side line and takes a massive dump on the pitch? Just as useful as any of them

  • Steinhaus

    Play Ox. Why the hell not. We aren’t favored to win the game, so we might as well give it a go…

  • Drewster

    I do think we need to stop with the Henderson at 6 experiment, its not working. He is better further forward. Start with Milly there and play Couts Can and Hendo in a 4-4-2 Diamond with Salah and Firms up front. I would also consider Ox ahead of Henderson or Can. The midfield needs a shake up and a wake up

  • Stromdiddily

    Gini 100%

  • gegenpressing

    Thought the international break would have diluted some of the negative atmosphere on here but guess that was just wishful thinking….I have always hated the United at home game as it always seems a must-win for us (seems to be the game we most measure ourselves by). I think we will do well on Saturday (we might even win comfortably). However, it isn’t this kind of match that will define our season (win, draw or lose). Would take a loss to United if it would mean that we beat the teams that we are supposed to comfortably. I hope to see more from the players that have had a good international break with their teams (Salah, Emre, Solanke, Lovren?) and hope that those that haven’t will see a return to club football as a way to change their fortunes. Think AOC needs something big to kickstart his LFC career and endear him to the fans and maybe a goal (or performance) against our biggest rivals might just be the tonic. Gini also owes us a big performance (as do most of the players). Think we will see a Gini-Emre-Henderson midfield with Coutinho wide left (how we lined up when Mane was suspended). We haven’t had any time on the training pitch to work out something new so we will just go with what the players are most familiar with…

    • RedNeve

      Colour it anyway you like but, the negativity is borne out of recent displays. A two week international break can’t dilute that. We’re a poor team at the moment and losing Mane just compounds that.

      • gegenpressing

        Okay, maybe you are right though I see it differently…I don’t think we are a poor team…Yes, we have had poor results but there is almost none of those games where we didn’t deserve to walk away with the points. Losing Mane is a blow but we have played matches this season without him as well as the bulk of the matches at the end of last season when he got injured against Everton (everyone only talks about AFCON)…Don’t think the negativity is only borne of recent displays either…Think it is a mix of us dropping points we have deserved, the disappointment of the transfer window and the success of our rivals…I’ve seen a lot of bad Liverpool teams over the years and this one isn’t anywhere close to being as bad…I understand the desire for everything to seem like it’s the worst ever (particularly on social media) but I have enough negativity in my real life to allow it to seep into my enjoyment of football as well…

        • RedNeve

          I get that mate. It’s important in life to have an outlet and football is mine too. But, think about the points we’ve all been talking about, the shortfall of defensive quality, the need or no need of a new keeper, the constant selling of our top players ( Torres, Mascherano, Suarez etc…) and it’s been the same issues for years. I hoped with the aquirement of Klopp that this trend would abate and, the way we stood firm over Couts I hope it’s the way ahead.

          • gegenpressing

            I agree with you on some of those but I will argue some as well…Our defense leaves a lot to be desired but it is no worse than it was last season (when we came 4th) even though Clyne being out is a big blow as he is probably our best defender. We still have the same two keepers from last season and we have brought Ward back (so marginal improvement on that position from last season), For years, we lost our best player but this year, we said no to bids and kept him…Not saying that everything is all good and we should have a party but surely there are things that should make us a bit more optimistic than we currently are…

          • RedNeve

            The first paragraph of your reply encapsulates what I’m trying to say. “Our defence is the same as last year and we came 4th”
            I don’t want to finish 4th? I want to win the league. Ok, I’ll add perspective to it and concede that with the money Utd, City and Chelsea have its an uphill task but, it’s what we’re all striving for here surely?

          • gegenpressing

            But wasn’t the reason why we wanted Klopp over Ancelotti (for those of us that did) after Rodgers was fired because of the long term planning, development and structure that Klopp would give us? Ancelotti would probably have got us better results in the short term (while spending much more) but we would probably not have been set up for even greater success when he left. We signed on to Klopp because we felt that, over time he could not only win us the league but also develop us to the point where we were constantly in the conversation for it not a one-off like 13/14. If that is the case, why are there so many doubts 2 years into his plan? I get that we would have liked to see greater improvement and more progress in certain areas like the defense but surely it is a bit shortsighted to only look at things that are going on now and get tempted to abandon the project midway?
            I’m not saying i don’t understand why people are feeling negative about the team, I do. I am saying that it is either we believe in the project or we don’t. I still believe and it seems to me that 2 years isn’t the ideal time to judge whether it will be successful or not…

          • RedNeve

            Very well said and to a point I agree completely. However, it’s not the fact that we haven’t progressed so much in Klopp’s short tenure but, that it’s the same failings we’ve been discussing for years. Our defensive misgivings have been the topic of forums long before Klopp came on board. So much so, we couldn’t win the league with the great Luis Suarez spearheading us.
            Klopp for me is the best manager in football today. And, like a lot of people I’m chuffed he’s ours. The irk is, even with him onboard we are still talking about the same shortcomings.
            If we have the money then spend it. Losing out on VVD shouldn’t have precluded us from signing an alternative? Highlighting our LB issue shouldn’t have been redeemed by signing a young player like Robertson?
            ‘We are Liverpool’ after all and we shouldn’t be in this predicament year on year.

  • jolive

    Such an important position, sad that after all this time it’s still a debate, i fucking hope we’re gonna build the team around Naby next year so this shit isn’t a question any more.

    • Even though it doesn’t really apply I want to use the phrase ‘last part of the jigsaw puzzle’ when it comes to Naby. I don’t think we will become a one man team with him but from what little I’ve seen of him he will be that ‘click’ that we’ve been looking for.

      • RedNeve

        Oh if only mate. If we could add Naby to our squad and keep Couts and with Lallana coming back then it would be perfect. However, I can’t see us refusing Barca twice

        • I think it’s the same scenario as it was in the Summer, when Naby comes in then Coutinho can go.

    • RedNeve

      I doubt we will tho mate. It’ll be Naby in, Couts and Can out. We never seem to build on the foundations we already have.

      Sorry for the pessimism.

      • Coutinho and Can out and Naby in does look like a likely scenario at the moment but I have the impression that Keita will do a job that is more in Klopp’s plans than Emre and Phil are doing at the moment… if that makes sense?

        • gegenpressing

          Klopp seems to like Emre though…He plays in about 98% of our games when he is fit. Surely, if he isn’t doing what Klopp wants, he would feature less? Think it’s more the fanbase that has questions about Emre, Klopp already seems convinced by him…

        • jolive

          Totally agree. We remember the 25 yarders from cuntface, but forget how much quicker and more dynamic we’ve been on the counter when he’s out.

          • Ha! I agree with you, however, despite that, without him our last 5 points may arguably be only 1 point… :/

          • globalcockup

            I get your point

        • RedNeve

          It makes sense if it’s to replace Can but, in no way does it correspond with Couts leaving. He’s the best player in the league for me and as much as it irks me, we must keep him.

    • gegenpressing

      What position do you think Naby is being brought in for? Is he a Can, Henderson or Coutinho replacement? I still think that Can signs a new contract with us though it the possibility seems to get more remote each passing month. Also think the contract situation isn’t endearing him to the fanbase (as most either think his performances haven’t merited him asking for a big contract/low release clause or that we can do better). Seems like one of those cases where an early resolution (either way) and communication to the fans will be better.
      Naby would be a perfect addition if we are keeping all of the personnel we currently have but if he is to be a replacement, seems like one step forward, two steps back…If results on the pitch don’t improve soon, you get the sense that we are going to have to have a big January transfer window for the fans to revive some optimism…

      • jolive

        Attacking mid, and we’ll be able to play the way Klopp wants us too, the word dynamism is an understatement. I actually think Can will stay and we might even tell barca to do one again.

        • gegenpressing

          That’s what I think as well (Can and Coutinho both stay) though with the mood of the fanbase right now, I’m almost afraid to give voice to it. I love Hendo but can’t help but feel that if we had a more defensive player (say a Matic or a Kante) in that position, we would be a lot more solid. Don’t know if Can can be the player we need him to be. Think he is a good player in his own right and he is developing great for a 23 year old but fear that unless he hits the heights that Gerrard (a once-in a generation player at his peak) did or maybe even Alonso, the fanbase won’t take him to heart.

          • jolive

            Good analogy mate, Emre is the closest thing we have to Stevie and he’s a country mile off. I’m an idiot but i would like to be in a parallel universe where he is happy playing as a centre back.

          • gegenpressing

            Compare anyone to Steven Gerrard (especially at his peak) and that person is likely to fall short (even though I am old enough to remember when people were worried that Gerrard wouldn’t hit the heights that some of the greats had). Think Emre should be allowed to develop at his own pace without all the pressure. He has a manager who trusts in his ability and who he trusts. They just need to resolve the contract thing and have the attention turned back to the football…Emre is a crap defender though as the last thing he seems to want is to stay back and be positionally disciplined and concentrated (a bit like Stevie too)

          • Delhi Belhi

            I think we are making a big mistake re emre. Yes, he’s not consistent and makes silly mistakes at time but still he’s only 23 and already has a huge number of games under his belt. Look how inconsistent coutinho was 2-3 years ago. We all knew he had the talent and his ‘moments’ would soon give rise to a consistently wc player. Earlier i thought 6 was emre’s best position but look how he has come on as a box to box. Has added a mean shot on him as well, gets into goal scoring positions in the box, and when he’s on it he is an absolute defensive powerhouse( motm at city away and united away last season). Remember how we were playing absolute shit football with no mane and no coutinho and still almost came away with the win from old trafford? That was mainly down to firmino’s pressing masterclass and can’s monster defensive performance(great tactics from klopp that day).

            Also he’s one of the very few in the squad who doesnt hide when the going gets tough and can be a snide cunt as well, hendo and gini especially are cowards and always looking to shirk responsiblity. He is a great asset to have and it’s no wonder juve want to sign him given he’s on a free as well. Really poor management from edwards or whoever the fuck is handling player contracts. What we’ve basically done is nurtured a player’s talents, deal with his inconsistencies so that he can go play in his prime for another team while we get nothing in return. Atleast whenever coutinho goes, we’ll get a great fee of over 100m.

  • globalcockup

    random news ghost goal knocked US out of world cup

    • Spooky! I can almost see Patrick Swayze’s clay-covered hands all over it.

  • RedNeve

    Just watched Mourinho interview. As much as I’d love to wipe the smug look off his annoying fucking face I don’t see it happening.

  • Saravana Kumar

    Stability…I say play milly…
    Gini had his chances…but he screwed it..
    Play ox.. he can’t be worse than gini at the moment…
    I would even dare to play woodburn…
    Keep studg out coz he is not gonna get goals againts de gea…
    Dom will do the job….

  • Jason Patel

    Had the author forgotten Mane is injured? Coutinho is likely to play left wide forward, do it’s likely it’s between Emre, Gini, Milly, the ox for the 2 positions alongside Hendo.

    Alternatively how about a change of formation?

    Coutinho Firmino Salah
    Hendo Milly

    • Tbone187

      I’m liking that formation and player choices.

    • gegenpressing

      I have advocated the possibility of the formation change as well but I was thinking that most of the players get in today, effectively giving them one full training session between now and the match. Don’t you think a formation change under those circumstances might be asking a lot? We could be a couple of goals down before the players come to grips with the formation in a match atmosphere…Perhaps the best thing for this game would be to switch as like for like as possible and then work more on the formation before our next game. Think Gini would turn up in a big game at Anfield (he always has). My suggestion would be to play a midfield of Gini-Can-Henderson and throw Coutinho wide left…

      • Jason Patel

        Yeah I think that was what I said initially I think the team will be, my concerns being with the form of Emre and Gini. Personally I’ve no idea how they’re ahead of Milly. If this two turn up, it’s game on!

        • gegenpressing

          Think Milly doesn’t gel with the idea of “building” something for Klopp (from an age perspective)..If Klopp’s idea is to win the league in the nest season or two, doesn’t it make more sense for him to answer his own questions about whether Gini and/or Can are the real deal going forward? We all know what Milly brings and he can be a great stopgap when the situation demands it but he isn’t going to be someone to build the midfield on. Think this season is an audition for Gini, Henderson and Can on which of them wants to be part of Klopp’s set-up going forwards and so far, none is pulling up any trees (would say Hendo is ahead of the other two as it stands). Think we might benefit from buying one defensive minded player for the midfield whose first thought is to question where the danger would arise rather than how he can run forward to be part of the attack (which I don’t think naby addresses)…Think I would persist with Can and Gini (and maybe even AOC) for the rest of this season (mostly) and make a firm decision at the end as to which of them would be part of the first team going forward. There are still too many unanswered questions about our team. We can be world beaters on our day but a lot seems to have to go right for us to get a win. Would just like a situation where an average day/game from us is just good enough to beat most average teams…

          • Jason Patel

            Well the problem with Emre, form aside is that he looks like he’s saying “sod counter pressing, I’m going to be the next Pirlo at juve!”
            We also need to make sure we get in the top 4 again and playing two out of form players won’t necessarily get you that.

          • gegenpressing

            Don’t think there would be as much pressure on Emre (from a playing perspective) if the contract situation was resolved. According to the stats, he is one of our best pressers and it just seems like the entire team isn’t doing as much of that this season (perhaps Klopp doesn’t believe it is fully compatible with a two games a week scenario). Think we are trying to figure out how we can exert ourselves the least (physically) and still win matches and unfortunately, that depends on having a really solid defense and mindset. Don’t think Emre has performed as badly this season and for a 23 year old, think his development season on season has been good. Not sure people would fully appreciate him though as our comparisons tend to be Gerrard (at his peak) and Alonso, not all the other mediocre players we had for years playing in those positions…

          • Jason Patel

            I’m not expecting him to be Alonso, or Gerrard, but not to keep getting caught in possession, or play blind passes at his defence like he did in Russia. He’s a frustrating player, as he’s capable of doing great things, but he also makes a lot of mistakes.

          • gegenpressing

            Wouldn’t that be the same of most 23 year old players though? even Pogba that was bought for so much money has some of those frustrations in him…I get wanting him to be better (we all do) but to expect his game to be the finished article (with few to no mistakes) at that age implies that we have forgotten what is standard for a young player of that age…Would be willing to bet that his performances for us is better than what his midfield counterparts (Gini and Henderson) were doing for their teams when they were his age on average…

          • Jason Patel

            Watch the build up to Moscow’s goal again. No way Hendo would either get caught in possession like that or make the blind pass that led to the free kick. At a similar age he was tasked with playing alongside Gerrard in the Euros in 2012.

          • gegenpressing

            I am the first to admit that it wasn’t his finest moment but we can pick many moments in matches where players mess up (even Messi loses the ball when you don’t expect sometimes and no, I am NOT comparing Can to Messi). What usually happens is that the other players bail you out and the game goes on…There are mistakes that Hendo would make that Can wouldn’t and vice versa. Can’s also been to international tournaments with his national team (who are world champions, mind)…Don’t want to get into whether one is better than the other just that I think he is developing in a good way (for his age) under a good manager for him. If he could cut more of the mistakes out of his game, he would be an even better player but making mistakes IS an important part of learning…

  • “…So that leaves the Ox and Milner. Out of the two, my heart says the former and my head says the latter”

    I agree.

  • Anon A Mouse

    I’d play Milly. We need a solid head in midfield. Man U will be up for the fight regardless who their coach is, thus a cool head is needed between the attack and defense. Milly is such a man.

  • milner