The Germany international has been limited to a string of substitute appearances in the Premier League so far this season. The signing of Georginio Wijnaldum and the Netherlands international’s subsequent performances alongside fellow midfielders Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana have left Can facing an uphill battle to get back in Klopp’s first-team. However, Wijnaldum’s hamstring strain provides the former Bayer Leverkusen man with an opportunity to prove to Jurgen Klopp that he deserves a spot ahead of the summer signing. Can would need to match Wijnaldum’s energy levels but he would add more brutish physicality to the Liverpool midfield as opposed to the Dutch star’s subtle interceptions.
Lucas Leiva is the current Liverpool player with the most experience of the north-west derby. The Brazil international is Liverpool’s longest-serving player – which must tempt Klopp to throw the 29-year-old into his starting line-up. Lucas’ inclusion would presumably see Liverpool captain Henderson vacate his defensive-midfield role and push forward to support Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino. Given his performance for England against Malta, starting Lucas to allow Henderson to play in a more advanced role could be a positive move.
Kevin Stewart is an outsider for a starting spot. He lacks the experience of Can and Leiva but Klopp hasn’t been afraid to throw the 23-year-old into the mix for big games since his appointment as Liverpool manager in October 2015. Stewart – like Lucas – would be defensive option which would free up Henderson for a more attacking role. His youthful energy could appeal to Klopp given his high-pressing system.
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