Jurgen Klopp given Jordan Henderson dilemma as new Liverpool partnership could get green light

The Liverpool selection decisions Jurgen Klopp has to make ahead of the Champions League last-16 clash with Inter Milan.

Liverpool kept up the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City with a 1-0 victory at Burnley on Sunday.

The Reds were well below their best at Turf Moor and had to dig deep to ensure the gap at the top of the table was restored to nine points.

Fabinho’s 40th-minute strike proved the difference for Jurgen Klopp’s side, who remain unbeaten in 2022.

Now Liverpool turn their attention to the Champions League when they make the trip to Inter Milan in the last 16 on Wednesday evening.

Klopp will have to get his team spot on against the Serie A champions in the first leg of the tie and is posed with a couple of questions.

Rearguard the same

Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker makes a save from Burnley’s Wout Weghorst. Picture: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Alisson Becker was Liverpool's man of the match against Burnley.

The keeper was excellent in between the posts, making top saves from Josh Brownhill and Jay Rodriguez in the first period while he swept up danger with precision.

Meanwhile, Virgil van Dijk had to be at his best to nullify the threat of towering striker Wout Weghorst. Joel Matip too helped deliver a clean sheet.

That's been Klopp's preferred centre-back partnership this season and there seems no reason why things might change against Inter Milan.

The same can be said for full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.

Henderson quandary

But in midfield, Jordan Henderson was below his best at Turf Moor.

The Liverpool captain has hit a dip in form and may be given a breather for the San Siro clash.

Against Burnley, Henderson was successful with just 50% of his attempted passes before being withdrawn in the 58th minute for Thiago Alcantara.

Henderson also suffered a knock to his knee following a late challenge from Erik Pieters and that could give Klopp further reasoning to rest his skipper.

After replacing Henderson, Thiago was superb in the engine room and helped bring a sense of calmness.

Naby Keita has been inconsistent during his Reds career but was one of the best performers at Burnley.

He completed 90% of his passes, made 12 final third passes, came out on top of six duels and recorded four ball recoveries. An all-action display.

Thiago and Keita have played just three times together at Anfield - and surprisingly never both started a match in the midfield three.

Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita during Liverpool training. Picture: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

But but on each occasion either has come on as a sub, victory was yielded.

It could be time for a new partnership to feature alongside Fabinho following his fifth goal in seven games.

Front three questions

Klopp also has decisions to make at the top end of the pitch.

The plan wasn't to start Sadio Mane, having only just arrived back on Merseyside four days earlier following Senegal's AFCON triumph.

But Diogo Jota could only make the bench after his suffered a dead leg, with Mane and Mo Salah flanking striker Roberto Firmino.

All three weren't at their peak and that suggests that switches could be made.

Jota came on as a 66th-minute substitute for Mane and you'd expect him to be back in the starting XI given he was fit enough for a cameo.

Diogo Jota comes on to replace Sadio Mane. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It was also a surprise that Luis Diaz was left on the bench after an impressive full debut in the defeat of Leicester last Thursday.

Klopp may have felt the physical challenge of Burnley wasn't the right game for Diaz given he's had little time to acclimatise to the Premier League.

But the Colombia international has proven himself on the Champions League stage for Porto.

He scored two goals for Porto in the group stage this season, as well as bagging twice in last term's competition.

Mane could get the respite that he requires.