Ex-Arsenal man predicts Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool XI for first Anfield game

Former Arsenal midfielder Charlie Nicholas who Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp should pick against Sion

Charlie Nicholas says Jurgen Klopp must take the Europa League seriously if the Liverpool manager wants to settle on his strongest starting XI.

The 48-year-old will take charge of the Reds for the first time at Anfield after he was appointed as Brendan Rodgers’s successor earlier this month.

He’ll go with a strong Liverpool team and be looking for a performance and a first win in front of the home supportersE

Charlie Nicholas

Liverpool played out a goalless draw with Tottenham Hotspur in Klopp’s first game as Reds manager at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

Former Arsenal midfielder Nicholas expects Klopp to stick with the some players that performed well in north London.

However, the Scot urged the German to consider Jordon Ibe for a starting spot against Rubin Kazan at Anfield on Thursday night.

“Jurgen Klopp has to have a lot of interest in this game, not so much because of the competition, but the interest is he has to identify his shape, which I think he will have been quite pleased with at Spurs because they did defend better than previously,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.

“I think we will be interested in giving Jordon Ibe, and a few others, an opportunity to see whether they can fit in the team.

“He needs game time to put all his methods and thoughts into exactly how the team should be, and making too many changes makes it hard for him to identify who is taking on board what he wants.

“There will be some who will pick it up quicker than others, such as James Milner, but he needs to give the likes of Adam Lallana game time so he can identify whether they can work in his system.

“He’ll go with a strong Liverpool team and be looking for a performance and a first win in front of the home supporters.”

Liverpool have drawn both of their opening two Europa League games against Bordeaux and Sion.

Liverpool v Rubin Kazan

• Liverpool’s record in 11 encounters with Russian sides is W6 D1 L4 (W3 D1 L1 at home – W2 D0 L3 away), those games including a 3-1 Super Cup victory against CSKA Moscow, played in Monaco, in August 2005. They have won their last three Anfield games against Russian visitors.

• Liverpool started their Group B campaign with two 1-1 draws; Rubin are bottom of the section with just a point to their name.

• Liverpool advanced to the knockout phase in both of their previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns – in 2010/11 and 2012/13.

• Rubin navigated their way through to the round of 32 in all three of their previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.

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