Liberia vs Nigeria: Five players Rohr must start

Tough decisions for Gernot Rohr
Given the plethora of talented players available to him, the Nigeria boss often faces selection headaches going into games.

Indeed, it’s no different before Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Liberia with the Super Eagles potentially one win away from sealing a place in the playoff round.

With a lot at stake in round five of qualifying, which players should the 68-year-old manager trust in Tangier?

Wilfred Ndidi Nigeria Backpagepix
Wilfred Ndidi
Having returned to the Nigeria fold following a hamstring injury that ruled him out of October’s internationals, Ndidi starts when fit.

His presence in the middle of the park and ability to recognise and thwart dangerous situations make him indispensable for the West Africans.

Ola Aina of Nigeria, Jordan Adeoti of BeninBackpage pix
Ola Aina
Rohr has tended to utilise Aina at right-back, but a left-back berth or left wing-back role suits the defender better.

It’s a role he functions in pretty effectively for Torino and there’s a sense the German tactician is sleeping on Aina’s adequacy on the left side.

Will the Nigeria boss budge and go against the grain against Liberia?

Alex Iwobi Nigeria 2018Getty Images
Alex Iwobi
If anyone needed a reminder of Iwobi’s usefulness to whatever Nigeria’s trying to do, the 1-0 defeat by the Central African Republic in Lagos offered that.

The home side struggled to progress the ball upfield in the eventual 1-0 defeat, further highlighting Iwobi’s usefulness to the side.

Of course, the Everton man may not score loads or assist, yet his quality shines through in several other ways for this group of players.

Samuel Chukwueze Nigeria South Africa
Samuel Chukwueze
Another injury returnee, the Villarreal wide attacker’s directness has been missing in September and October’s fixtures.

Rohr has had to improvise in Chukwueze’s absence, but there’s a recognition of the quality and menace the 22-year-old possesses.

He adds that layer of unpredictability to the Super Eagles and the group ought to be beneficiaries of his return to fitness in November’s games.

Victor OsimhenGetty
Victor Osimhen
Osimhen remains Nigeria’s number one frontman and should remain in situ despite Odion Ighalo’s return.

The Napoli frontman may not have the experience of the ex-Watford striker, but his superior mobility and tenacity out of possession make him a better fit for the West African nation.