It looks as though Jonjo is a major doubt for Liverpool this weekend and that`s certainly something playing on my mind.
Games between us and them have never been what you`d call cagey affairs and so to have one of our main midfielders more than likely out of contention is hardly an ideal build-up.
Anyway, it is what it is and I`m sure Rafa will have a plan in mind but whilst we wait to see who he brings into midfield, I`d suggest he seriously considers Mikel Merino.
I didn`t really know what to expect of the young Spaniard when he arrived – out of hope I was thinking he might be one of Benitez`s shrewder signings – and the early signs were good.
He sprayed passes for fun and helped control the tempo of games with his wand of a left foot before getting crocked and, since then, he`s looked off the pace.
However, I think in recent weeks he`ll have benefitted from being back in training and not playing as many games, so now I reckon it`s time for him to be back in the starting line-up.
With Jonjo out we need a player that`s going to be confident on the ball and not shy away – especially when Liverpool will have most of the ball.
Mo Diame will probably start but he`s there for energy and running – not for getting on the ball and creating.
In my eyes, the most similar player to Shelvey in the midfield is Merino and if we`re brave and give him the ball regularly it might pay off.
Rafa might just look to shut up shop but this game is essentially a free swing and so why not get Merino back up to speed?
Would you start Merino? Let me know in the poll!