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Liverpool predicted XI to face AFC Wimbledon

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Liverpool start off their FA Cup campaign this season with a trip to League Two side AFC Wimbleldon.

Since Brendan Rodgers took the helm at Anfield in 2012, he's faired poorly in England's most prized cup competition having crashed out in both the fourth and five rounds.

Silverware is something that has been lacking over the few years on the Red half of Merseyside with the League Cup just being captured in 2012.

History

Despite winning the competition seven times in the clubs' history, you have to go back to 2006 when Liverpool came back late to beat West Ham United on penalties at the Millennium Stadium, mainly down to two superb goals from captain Steven Gerrard.

With Gerrard announcing his retirement earlier this week, he will be desperate to leave his boyhood club on a high. A top four finish looks out of the question for Liverpool given they trail fourth placed Southampton by seven points and the possibility of lifting a trophy could be the better option.

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Monday night's game is a classic 'David vs. Goliath' clash that the FA Cup throws up and repeats the 1988 final when the original Wimbledon FC beat the Reds 1-0 thanks to a Laurie Sanchez header.

Starting XI

Goalkeeper - Simon Mignolet

It's January which means it's transfer window time. With inconsistency from both LFC goalkeepers this season, the likelihood is that Rodgers could be drafting in a new shot-stopper.

Mignolet was dropped for Liverpool's game against Basel in December and struggled to gain his place back in the side. However, he was forced to come on against Burnley on Boxing Day when Brad Jones was taken off injured and looked unconvincing and the same can be said when his outfit met Leicester. 

With a new goalkeeper likely to come in soon, the Belgian will have to put a match-winning performance to convince his manager that he can remain in the Liverpool net.

Centre-back - Javier Manquillo

The Spaniard played as a wing-back in the 4-1 victory against Swansea City and the game pretty much passed him by.

However, he was much better defensively than on the attack and it showed he could play part of the back-three. Manquillo is solid when defending and isn't bad on the ball either which would allow him to play from the back-line and start attacks for the Reds.

Centre-back - Dejan Lovren

Lovren has struggled since moving to Anfield and has been left in the cold of recent despite signing for £20 million just six months ago.

The Croatian badly is lacking in confidence and attempts to make up for it by trying too hard when on the ball and loses it too easily. However, he's likely to make a reappearance against a lesser opposition and hopefully he can show the same ability he did at Southampton last term and start getting back to his best.

Centre-back - Mamadou Sakho

The Frenchman has done well in Liverpool's last few games and the key for him is getting games under his belt. Too often, his career at Anfield has been disrupted by coming in and out of the team and he's a player who gets better when playing consistently. Sakho is as strong as an ox and his positioning makes it difficult for attackers to get past him when one-on-one and is beginning to really make a stance at the back.

Right-wing - Lazar Markovic

The young Serb has been very good playing as a wing-back of late and Kopites will be keen to see him line-up once again.

Markovic is blessed with pace that makes it impossible for defenders to keep up with him and also has excellent feet and can cross the ball. He was superb in Liverpool's 3-1 Capital One Cup clash with Bournemouth and it should be a similar case in the fixture.

Centre-midfield - Jordan Henderson

Henderson is a player who is much better without Steven Gerrard in the side - just look at the comparisons when Liverpool played both Swansea and Leicester. 

The former-Sunderland man has the ability to boss the midfield as he did so against the Swans and does so due to his superb engine to do so. With that, his passing and tackling has significantly improved as displayed against Swansea when setting up Alberto Moreno.

Centre-midfield - Emre Can

The German has been playing at centre-back of late however his natural position is in the centre-of-midfield. Can has shown he can play in the defence, but you can see he is itching to get forwards and sometimes is caught slightly out of position.

The 20-year-old has every desirable attribute that a manager looks for in a midfielder - power, pace, excellent vision and can score goals. He'd likely play just in-front of the back-four and can easily break down Wimbledon's attacks as well as getting forward himself.

Left-wing - Alberto Moreno

Moreno seems much more suited to the role of wing-back as he can really commit himself to getting forwards. The Spaniard scored an excellent goal against Swansea when going on a run and then getting himself into the box and Liverpool fans will want to see the same.

Right-wing - Philippe Coutinho

The Brazilian has been in excellent form of late and will likely keep his place in Liverpool team. Coutinho has been the brains of the team in recent weeks with most of the Reds' chance being created by him. Clearly, he's thriving in the new formation and will likely be the membrane once again.

Left-wing - Suso

Suso has been left on the lurch this season but with Adam Lallana coming off injured last game and Raheem Sterling having played plenty of football, Rodgers will want to rest the pair.

The Spaniard is the best option that Liverpool have got who can play out wide and make things happen for the Reds. He done well last season on loan at Murcia and hopefully can repeat that form and make his manager start considering him.

Striker - Mario Balotelli

The Italian has very much been left out of Rogers' plans of late and not even been used as a substitute. 

Balotelli is a player of confidence and a weaker opposition could see him grab a goal or two which would do wonders for him. After all, he is a proven goalscorer for his country as well as at AC Milan and a big performance could see him back in the Liverpool team.

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Topics:
AFC Wimbledon
Liverpool
FA Cup
Football

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