Jurgen Klopp faces unprecedented Liverpool decision that can’t be ignored

An early look at the questions posed to Jurgen Klopp after Liverpool’s goalless draw against Chelsea as they next prepare to face Brighton in the FA Cup.

Liverpool were unable to put the pressure on the teams above them in the race for the Premier League top four after being held to a goalless draw to Chelsea.

Indeed, the ninth-placed Reds could not inch closer to the Champions League places, with Brentford and Brighton also drawing, while Manchester United - who sit fourth - lost to leaders Arsenal.

Jurgen Klopp now has a week to prepare for Liverpool’s next game, which is a trip to Brighton in the FA Cup on Sunday.

The historic competition is only one of two pieces of silverware the Reds can win this campaign. Yet they travel to the south coast having suffered a humbling 3-0 loss earlier this month.

Klopp will be weighing up his team all week at the AXA Training Centre and no doubt the performance against Chelsea will be factored in.

With that in mind, here’s an early look at some of the questions posed to the Liverpool manager.

Goalkeeper and Defence

Alisson Becker kept a deserved first clean sheet in eight matches. It'll be interesting if he continues in goal or if Klopp hands Caoimhin Kelleher an outing.

James Milner proved his versatility again when filling in for Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back. Alexander-Arnold had suffered a minor muscle issue in the build-up and could only come off the bench so you'd think he'll come back into the team.

Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez yielded a shutout, which delighted Klopp. Although he had a couple of shaky moments, Gomez was generally sound and could well be Konate's partner again at Brighton given that Joel Matip had a performance to forget on the south coast.

There is a good chance that Andy Robertson, man of the match against Chelsea, is given a breather and Kostas Tsimikas deputises at left-back.

Midfield

The engine room was more compacted against Chelsea and progress was made. Stefan Bajcetic enjoyed a decent full Premier League debut before unsurprisingly tiring in the closing stages. The role of shielding the back four could be his to lose ahead of Fabinho.

Naby Keita wasn't as dynamic as some might have hoped, having played his second game in a week after injury problems. Jordan Henderson might come in for the Guinea international.

Thiago Alcantara's passing impressed at times and he's first choice in the middle of the park. Other options include Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Forwards

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield on January 21, 2023 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

The barren form of Mo Salah cannot be ignored. Not only did the Egyptian fire blank for a third successive game but he has failed to register a shot on target in the same period. In addition, Salah’s bagged only once in his past six outings.

That's a real concern and despite plundering 17 goals in 29 appearances this season, Salah's not hit the form Kopites know he's capable of on the whole.

Harvey Elliott impressed against Wolves and Klopp knew he couldn't leave him out of his team. He was shoehorned into a left-wing role but looked far from comfortable.

Elliott deserves another chance in what is his best position on the right-hand side. That may mean Salah has to switch to a different role - or be benched like Fabinho, Henderson and Matip were against Chelsea. Indeed, if that was the case, it would be unprecedented. While Salah has been fit, he’s played.

Cody Gakpo also struggled as he continued to acclimatise to life at Anfield. But, in truth, he's been thrown into the deep end a lot quicker than expected after arriving at the start of the month and operating as a centre-forward isn't his strongest position.

Darwin Nunez proved a handful off the bench after returning from a hamstring injury. With another week's training under his belt, you'd expect him to be fit enough to start.

That could see Gakpo pushed to the left although Jones was lively when coming on as a substitute. Fabio Carvalho's impressive performance against Wolves also shouldn't be forgotten.