Liverpool are all smiles after reaching the Champions League final midweek following a dramatic semi-final second leg against Roma.
Real Madrid await in Kiev, though Jurgen Klopp has business to take care of in the Premier League before the showpiece occasion.
Namely the fact that the Reds, for all their European heroics, could yet fail to qualify for next season’s competition. Chelsea’s hopes are slim and can be killed off in this weekend’s clash at Stamford Bridge, though Klopp will be looking to utilise his squad in order to ensure Liverpool are fresh ahead of May 26.
Fringe players and youngsters will hope for an opportunity in the Chelsea and Brighton matches – here are five with a point to prove in the remaining league games:
1. Adam Lallana
Injuries have plagued Adam Lallana last 12 months, but it is easy to forget how outstanding he was at times last season.
His close control and ability to pivot and change the angle of attack could be a tempting option for Jurgen Klopp.
Lallana will likely receive an opportunity against Chelsea, either from the bench or potentially in a starting capacity if Klopp notices any fatigue from the gruelling second leg in Rome midweek.
There is of course a World Cup to consider in the back of Lallana’s thinking too, with Gareth Southgate undoubtedly eager to see signs of Lallana recapturing his best form and potentially prepare himself to be a game-changer in Russia.
2. Nathaniel Clyne
Another player slipping out of contention for a place in the Three Lions’ squad. A victim of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s meteoric rise, despite the youngster’s impressive stint in the first team, there have been costly mistakes.
His eagerness to intercept the ball led to Stephan El Shaarawy scampering in behind the Reds’ back line and Edin Dzeko equalising from the rebound at the Olimpico.
While he has earned Klopp’s trust to retain his place, likely until the end of the season, Klopp would be foolish to not see what he has in Clyne as an alternative should the situation require it, even as a straight swap late on in games should Alexander-Arnold appear tired.
3. Danny Ings
Seemingly one of the nice guys at Melwood and well liked by the squad, Ings finally broke his duck after returning from injury in the 2-2 draw with West Brom.
Ings has quietly featured in five of the last seven Reds games, including three stars. He appears to be in prime position to operate as the first change to Roberto Firmino or Mo Salah.
He’ll want to justify that role and hope to be in contention for an unlikely, yet small role in Kiev.
4. Dominic Solanke
Much is expected of Solanke at Liverpool and while this season is almost a free pass for the former Chelsea prospect, he will be desperate to score his first Liverpool goal.
Despite the limited minutes so far, Klopp has used the England Under-21 international 25 times already in the current campaign.
You would suspect when one drops, it’ll transform Solanke into a dangerous substitute and a totally different option at Klopp’s disposal.
Solanke will hope to feature at some point against his former club this weekend, or perhaps in the final game of the season at home to Brighton. He will not only want to show a glimpse of his potential but to persuade Klopp he should be his first consideration to impact the final if required from the bench.
5. Rafael Camacho
The Portuguese starlet is now a regular in first team training almost two years on from joining the Reds from Manchester City.
Able to play across the width of the pitch in support of the striker, Camacho’s quick feet make him a threat whenever carrying the ball forwards and, on paper at least, a player ideally suited to Klopp’s tactics.
If the the opportunity presents itself, Klopp could hand him a debut before the Premier League season ends.
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