Jürgen Klopp took out a Champions League squad of 24 players this autumn, as Liverpool did not have enough club-trained players for a full squad of 25 players. Then the long-term injured duo Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were sacrificed.
With Cody Gakpo as the only addition to the squad in January, Liverpool have continued the same problem in relation to club-trained players, and now Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain are fit and back in action. Who will Jürgen Klopp sacrifice?
This time too, Liverpool have several players out with injuries, but what most of them have in common is that they are expected to be back during February. For both Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate, the first Champions League match against Real Madrid is a realistic goal, and the same also applies to Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota.
Then there is more reason to question Arthur Melo and Luis Diaz’s injury situation. The Liverpool management expects Diaz to be back in action in March, but the question is whether it will happen so early that he will make it to the return match against Real Madrid on Wednesday 15 March. Diaz has not played for Liverpool since injuring his knee in the defeat to Arsenal in October. He was back in training during Liverpool’s training camp in Dubai, but suffered a setback and had to undergo surgery.
Liverpool are allowed to make three changes to their Champions League squad compared to the crew they fielded last autumn, when the squad is to be handed in at midnight tomorrow night. If Diaz is not in the squad it will be a sign that his progression is not as expected.
Calvin Ramsay and Arthur Melo wreck?
It will be natural if Klopp brings Cody Gakpo, Alex Oxlace-Chamberlain and Naby Keita as the three new players in the squad. The question then becomes who has to go out.
Stefan Bajcetic can be on the B-list, and thus does not need to be in the squad.
Klopp has the option of leaving out Calvin Ramsay, after the injury problems he has had. The Scot has only played two first-team games, and the Liverpool manager can use both Joe Gomez and James Milner as cover for Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back.
After only 13 minutes for Liverpool’s first team, and a long injury layoff, it also seems natural that the Liverpool manager scraps Arthur Melo.
Diaz could be dropped from the squad if his injury takes longer to heal than what Liverpool have said so far.
Klopp may also consider leaving out third keeper Adrian, to make room for more outfield players.
The clubs must include at least two goalkeepers on the A-list, and at least three in total including the B-list. If Adrian is scrapped, it will probably be Harvey Davies who will be the third choice after Alisson and Caoimhin Kelleher. UEFA rules also state that if a club does not have two goalkeepers from the A-list available due to long-term injuries or illness, i.e. an absence lasting at least 30 days, then they can temporarily replace this goalkeeper during the season.
In the squad of 25 players, eight places are reserved for locally trained players. If a club has fewer than eight locally trained players, their A-list will be reduced accordingly. There are two categories of locally trained players, namely club-trained players and federation-trained players.
Club-trained players were at the club for three years aged 15-21, while association-trained players are players who were in other clubs with the same association for three years aged 15-21. No club can have more than four federation trained players among their eight locally trained players.
Liverpool currently have three club-trained players in Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Caoimhin Kelleher. They have five federation-trained players, in James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Fabio Carvalho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Nat Phillips. One of the five latter must then go under the ordinary quota.
This means that the Reds have too few club-trained players to field a full squad of 25 players.
Players like Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Stefan Bajcetic are so young that they can be included in the B-list. Liverpool can add as many players as they wish to the B list during the season, as long as the player was born after 1 January 2001 and has been eligible to play for the club for a continuous period of two years after the player’s 15th birthday at the time he was registered with UEFA, or for a continuous period of three years interrupted by a loan stay of a maximum of one year with a club in the same association.
Gakpo, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita coming in?
Based on this, Liverpool’s squad could look like this:
Keepers: Alisson Becker, Adrian, Caoimhin Kelleher (klubbtrent).
Defensive players: Joe Gomez (btrent club), Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, Kostas Tsimikas, Andy Robertson, Joel Matip, Nat Phillips (forbundstrent), Trent Alexander-Arnold (btrent club).
Midfielders: Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara, James Milner (federal training), Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson (federal training), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (federal training).
Attackers: Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez, Fabio Carvalho (forbundstrent).
B-listen: Harvey Davies, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, Stefan Bajcetic med flere.