Champions League final: Who starts in midfield?

James-Milner
With our biggest game of the season now just a matter of days away, our front three and back five picks itself but who do we think should start in midfield? Keita has been ruled out but let’s explore the other options.

Jock’s choice

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For me it’s a no-brainer. Given their recent form and impact on the team, I think we should start Fabinho, Hendo and Gini. Fabinho has really grown into the team over the last six months and I think provides both a better defensive base than others but also helps transition our play from defence to offence better than the other options. Hendo has been a revelation since moving further forward and his pressing, energy and leadership abilities will be vital on Saturday. Finally Gini, having exploded into the semi-final with two goals against Barca, it would seem very harsh to leave him out, especially as he has featured far more in midfield this season than anyone else. His much vaunted dirty work, physicality and knack for scoring important goals, means Gini should be given the nod over Milner in my opinion.

Klopp’s most trusted

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Time and again in our biggest games, especially away from home, Klopp has shown his most trusted midfield three to be Hendo, Milner and Gini. We’ve had mixed results with this midfield three but this season, I’ve felt we’ve badly struggled for creativity when starting those three - Napoli away anyone? They didn’t start but Hendo came on for Keita after twenty minutes and we really put in a dismal display. I also think we lose a lot from Hendo’s game by playing him as a six and I’ll be surprised if anyone thinks Fabinho shouldn’t start. I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised to see this midfield start the game but hopefully not.

The Timp experience

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Klopp (and Timp) may decide he wants his two most experienced midfield generals on the pitch and opt for Fabinho, Hendo and Milner. I’m fairly ambivalent about this option. Swapping Milner for Gini wouldn’t be my personal choice but Milner has never let us down. Personally, I’d prefer his experience and level head coming on later in the game but I wouldn’t be against him starting. With him also providing cover for Robbo however, we don’t want him burnt out by the hour mark, in case (god forbid) anything was to happen to Robbo.

The wildcard option

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Maybe Klopp will surprise us all and start Ox in one of the more advanced midfield positions, which had he been fit for a while, would probably be my personal choice as I feel he gives more of an offensive balance from midfield but it would be a massive call to start a player in a Champions League final who’s barely kicked a ball all season and I’d be hugely surprised if he’s involved. Maybe a late cameo. Real shame for a player to miss two Champions League finals because of the same injury. Life can be cruel at times, especially as Ox seems like a thoroughly decent chap.

What do we think then troops? Who should start in midfield on Saturday?

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