Liverpool thrashed Premier League champions Leicester City 4-1 on their last outing so a very sensible train of footballing thought would see Jurgen Klopp field the same XI at Stamford Bridge.
What fun would that be though? The big problem for the German now is Philippe Coutinho, who is raring to go having been kept back at Anfield due to the amount of air miles he had clocked just a few days prior when on international duty.
Having waved his wand for Brazil from off the bench in Ecuador to set up Neymar for a winner, Liverpool’s ‘little magician’ was benched by Klopp in the Foxes rout which saw some of the Reds’ most dynamic forward movement since the German took charge.
Coutinho was introduced in the final 15 minutes at the expense of Daniel Sturridge and had a hand in the fourth Liverpool goal.
Of the ultra-fluid front three, made up of Sturridge, Sadio Mane (1) and Roberto Firmino (2), the England man was the only one of the trio not to find the net, though he was thwarted by Kasper Schmeichel from close range.
Because Studger’s only goals of 2016/17 have arrived in the EFL Cup against Burton, the England forward is an obvious candidate to make way, especially as he played no part in the ransacking of Stamford Bridge last season while injured.
That day belonged to Coutinho, who netted twice in the 3-1 raid, as part of a three-man attack containing Adam Lallana and countryman Firmino.
However, anyone who saw the Leicester game will have appreciated the intelligence of Sturridge’s runs and unusual levels of selflessness that he displayed and for these reasons he must keep his place.
Leaving that attacking trio as they were means it is one of the two central midfielders in front of anchorman Jordan Henderson that should budge.
With Lallana in the form of his life in his new role, Georginio Wijnaldum draws the short straw despite the Dutchman’s growing influence after a rather inconspicuous start to life at Anfield.
From a more central position Coutinho will have to work harder but he can also see the whole picture opening up in front of him, so offensively he can still be extremely effective.
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