Brendan Rodgers could surprise Liverpool fans by naming two teenagers in his starting XI to face Stoke City on Sunday.
According to the Liverpool Echo both Jordan Ibe and new signing Joe Gomez are in line to be given the nod at the Britannia Stadium for the Reds’ first game of the season, with Alberto Moreno and Lazar Markovic two potential casualties.
Ibe has impressed fans since bursting onto the scene last term and to many he’s seen as the natural successor to Raheem Sterling, who of course left for Manchester City this summer.
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Gomez meanwhile has drawn plaudits during Liverpool’s pre-season campaign, and Rodgers may be prepared to reward him with a starting place ahead of Moreno, a man whose Anfield future is looking precarious to say the least.
In any case the decision to back youth is one that represents a gamble from Rodgers, particularly as he’s on thin ice regarding the club’s fans and board.
The Northern Irishman oversaw a very average campaign last time out, one that coincidentally culminated in a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Stoke, and so he must get things right from the off this season.
That said fans will likely back him when it comes to picking Gomez and Ibe, both of whom are tipped for big things in the future. Rodgers has always endorsed the idea of letting young talent flourish on the pitch, and if either man makes a big impression at the Britannia his decision will be vindicated.
How they might line up
As of yet it’s unclear exactly how Liverpool will line up, though the formation Rodgers looks to employ will likely determine that.
If it’s 4-3-2-1 that’s preferred then Ibe, Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho could all start, though Roberto Firmino might not yet be fit enough given his lack of involvement in pre-season.
Liverpool fans, would you be surprised to see Ibe and Gomez both start? Let us know in the comments box below.