Jurgen Klopp facing Dejan Lovren conundrum as Liverpool ponder midfield shake-up – Liverpool Echo

Liverpool are Premier League title winners – and now begins the victory lap.

The Reds secured the title with seven games remaining when their 4-0 win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday was followed 24 hours later by nearest rivals Manchester City losing at Chelsea.

The new champions will take on the deposed ones at the Etihad on Thursday night, the first in hectic run of six games in 17 days.

Jurgen Klopp will now consider his options having named his strongest side possible against Palace last week.

And here we look ahead to the changes the Reds boss could make when his side are next in action.

Stick or twist at the back?

Two successive clean sheets since the season resumed – with seven different players starting in defence – indicates solidity isn’t an issue at the back.

And with James Milner and Joel Matip – whose right foot is in a protective boot – once again almost certain to be sidelined, Klopp’s options are limited.

One available choice, though, is to bring in Dejan Lovren at centre-back. After all, the Croatian has started six of the last seven games against City.

Neco Williams made his Premier League debut from the bench in midweek but this fixture is unlikely to be the one for his first top-flight start.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be hoping for more involvement against Manchester City on Thursday

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be hoping for more involvement against Manchester City on Thursday
(Image: JON SUPER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Hungry like an Ox

Klopp went with the tried and trusted against Palace in the engine room, with skipper Jordan Henderson joined by Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum.

It meant Naby Keita dropped to the bench despite a decent showing at Everton.

The Guinean will be a genuine option, as too will Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has failed to start either of the two games since the season restarted.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Curtis Jones are both back and available after injury – Jones among the substitutes last Wednesday – but this might be a bit early for either.

Minamino ready

The regular front three were reunited with devastating effect against Palace, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah both scoring.

Klopp does have alternatives, with Takumi Minamino featuring in the last two games and Divock Origi eager to contribute.

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However, the duo could have greater opportunity of starting at home to Aston Villa on Sunday.

Harvey Elliott, meanwhile, would relish another run-out from the bench against such exalted opposition.