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Jurgen Klopp faces Thiago Alcantara conundrum as Liverpool consider major overhaul

Liverpool stumbled their way through another festive horror with a disappointing defeat against Southampton.

Danny Ings’ early strike was enough to send the Reds tumbling to a 1-0 reverse on the South Coast on Monday.

The Premier League and world champions now have a quick turnaround before they head to Aston Villa on Friday for an FA Cup third round tie.

And here we look ahead to the changes Jurgen Klopp could make when his team are next in action.

All change at the back

Don’t be surprised if Liverpool make wholesale alterations for the trip to Villa Park.

Not least across the entire back line, with a number of players having waited patiently for their opportunity.

Neco Williams is one, the Welshman primed to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back.

In the heart of defence, Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips will be confident of a start with Fabinho likely to be rested and all other centre-backs injured.

And Andy Robertson is due a breather at left-back. With Kostas Tsimikas injured, that means James Milner is primed for the role.

In goal, Caoimhin Kelleher should be given the nod ahead of Alisson Becker.

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Middle posers

The engine room is a more tricky one.

Curtis Jones will be a likely starter having not featured at all against Southampton.

But while Naby Keita is struggling to be fit, the rest of the available midfielders have all started during the past week.

And it may be that Thiago Alcantara is given another run-out as he gets up to speed after a lengthy spell on the sidelines, especially with Liverpool then not playing for another nine days.

Young duo Leighton Clarkson and Jake Cain could also come into consideration.

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Rotation in attack

Much will depend on whether Liverpool stick to their usual 4-3-3 or switch to 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1.

But Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri will all fancy their chances of a start at Villa.

Minamino in particular seems deserving after not featuring since his fine showing at Crystal Palace last month in which he scored his first Premier League goal.

Klopp, though, may decide one of the regular front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah should play. Much depends on how seriously the Reds boss wants to take the competition this season.

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