How Liverpool should line up if Benteke misses Villa’s visit
Hamstrung Liverpool striker Christian Benteke looks unlikely to face his old club Aston Villa in the Premier League next, but that means opportunity knocks for Danny Ings.
That Benteke is the Reds’ top scorer in the top tier with two to his name after six games, might not be such a concern to Brendan Rodgers ahead of Villa’s visit had others in his squad been chipping in.
With only Philippe Coutinho on the opening day and latterly second-half substitute Ings getting on the scoresheet besides the big man though, Benteke’s absence could well be felt in a fixture he used to relish in claret and blue.
Ings at least provided a fine account of himself in that extended 45-minute cameo against Norwich, taking his first chance expertly, before the Reds were ultimately pegged back.
As BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson pointed out in his post-match analysis, there were green shoots for the hosts in an attacking sense, following a four-match (now five) winless streak.
If Benteke is ruled out, Ings should be the main benefactor when Villa roll into town and providing the Capital One Cup doesn’t throw a spanner in the works beforehand, this is the team Rodgers should deploy according to Ladbrokes News:
A lack of viable Premier League-quality deputies ensures Simon Mignolet retains his place regardless of his punching error that led to Russell Martin’s Canaries leveller.
The 3-5-2 formation which released Alberto Moreno – who arguably had his best game for Liverpool – and Nathaniel Clyne to get forward so much more than in previous outings, stays.
The one change at the back sees Joe Gomez reinstated for his proficiency at defending over Emre Can, who is a natural midfielder and therefore shunts the ineffectual Lucas out of the side in a domino effect.
The Brazilian holding midfielder is better off deployed away from home to add an extra layer of protection, but he’s benched at Anfield to allow Can and James Milner to forge a more energised engine-room alliance.
Coutinho is free to cast his creative spells ahead of the duo and Ings is then rewarded with one of the two front spots alongside England colleague Daniel Sturridge.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.