The Liverpool fans in the Transfer Tavern are feeling apprehensive ahead of their final clash of the season against Brighton this afternoon.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have looked nailed on to secure their place in the Champions League next season for quite some time, but they still have work to do with one fixture remaining. The Reds are two points clear of 5th place Chelsea with a vastly superior goal difference, so a draw against the travelling Seaguls should be enough to get them over the line.
Liverpool can also qualify for the Champions League by winning the competition when they play Real Madrid in Kiev in two weeks time, but they would much rather secure qualification today so they can focus purely on winning the trophy against Los Blancos. With the European final in mind, Klopp could be tempted to rest some of his key players today, however, he should start his best team in order to ensure the club have momentum going into the final fixture.
Naturally, form typically goes out of the window in high magnitude fixtures, but if Liverpool lose to Brighton and finish in 5th place, the huge pressure which already looms going into the final will become uncomfortably intense. With that in mind, Klopp should start his best starting eleven and substitute players accordingly should his side open up a comfortable lead, and that includes Mo Salah (valued at £72 million by Transfermarkt).
Although plenty of Liverpool’s outfield players are blessed with creative flair and a cutting edge in the final-third, it’s fair to say that without Salah the Reds are not the same side going forward. Salah has stolen the plaudits for his individual brilliance and mind-blowing statistics this season, but his ability to also bring the best out of his teammates is one of the standout features of his game.
The nerves will be jangling when Liverpool step onto the pitch against Brighton later today despite the fact qualification is firmly in their hands. If anyone is likely to settle those nerves with an early goal, then it’s Salah, so Klopp must forget about the Champions League final, play him from the outset and substitute him as early as possible once his side have established a healthy lead.
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