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How Liverpool could line up against Chelsea

Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at how Liverpool could line up for Thursday's Premier League showdown with top-four rivals Chelsea at Anfield.

In a season defined largely by injury problems, Liverpool could be handed a trio of timely boosts ahead of this match with some key players set to come back into contention.

Jurgen Klopp mentioned after the victory over Sheffield United that both Alisson Becker and Fabinho are expected to return in time for Chelsea, and the Brazilian duo could both go straight back into the starting lineup.

Alisson missed out at Bramall Lane on compassionate grounds following the tragic death of his father in a swimming accident in his native Brazil last week.

The shot-stopper will be granted as long as he needs to recover, and Adrian is on standby again after a keeping a clean sheet at the weekend, but Alisson is expected to come back into the side for this one.

Fabinho, meanwhile, has been sidelined for almost a month and it will be interesting to see whether he returns at centre-back, where he has featured for most of the season so far, or in his more familiar central midfield position.

Klopp could be tempted to give Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak - his 18th centre-back pairing of the season - more time to build a partnership given that Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are all likely to miss the rest of the season, but Fabinho has excelled at the heart of the defence and so is expected to return in that position.

Kabak appears to be above Phillips in the pecking order following his January arrival, but a couple of shaky performances against Everton and Sheffield United could see Klopp favour Phillips for this match.

The other fitness boost comes in attack, where Diogo Jota could make his first appearance since December having now recovered from a knee injury.

The Portuguese forward missed the Sheffield United game through illness after returning to training last week, and he is likely to be eased back in via a substitute's role rather than being thrown straight back into the starting XI.

Jota's return should give Klopp the chance to rest some of his front three over the coming weeks, although Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are all expected to start this game.

Mane scored both goals in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge to make it seven goals in 16 appearances against Chelsea across all competitions - only against Crystal Palace and Aston Villa has he scored more in England.

The champions will still be without captain Jordan Henderson, while backup goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher is also sidelined.

Liverpool possible starting lineup: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Fabinho, Robertson; Thiago, Wijnaldum, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mane

> Click here to see how Chelsea could line up for this contest

Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:

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Liverpool's Fabinho trudges off after suffering an injury against FC Midtjylland in the Champions League on October 27, 2020
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