Toure in for Lucas, substitutes dilemma – Predicting Liverpool’s League Cup Final XI


We take a look at how Jurgen Klopp is expected to line up his Liverpool team as the Reds search for silverware against Man City in the League Cup final at Wembley.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 21, 2015: Liverpool's Martin Skrtel celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Manchester City during the Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool arrive at ‘Anfield South’ looking to secure a record ninth League Cup title against Manuel Pellegrini’s City on Sunday afternoon.

A productive European night against Augsburg completed part one of a season-defining four days facing the Reds, leaving Klopp’s side dreaming of turning a positive start into the perfect finish with a first trophy since 2012.

Klopp will select his strongest side available as he attempts to add to the Anfield trophy cabinet just four months into his reign, and his selection for the showcase final is a straightforward pick.


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Team News

  • Strong squad at Klopp’s disposal for Wembley visit
  • Lovren and Skrtel fit again after injury lay-offs
  • Allen and Lallana also back to boost midfield and attack options
  • Gomez, Rossiter, Stewart and Ings only remaining absentees
  • But team selection still likely to be a straightforward pick for Klopp
  • One change likely from Augsburg win with Toure replacing Lucas in defence
  • Though Brazilian will be hopeful of a first Wembley appearance
  • Can and Henderson to continue midfield partnership
  • Coutinho, Firmino & Sturridge to spearhead Reds
  • But Klopp has dilemma with substitutes’ bench
  • Reds boss needs match-ready options at his disposal
  • Therefore returning seniors could miss Wembley clash due to lack of fitness


The Starting XI

Having finally been able to name a consistent and strong side in recent weeks, a familiar looking Liverpool team to that of recent games will almost certainly line up again at Wembley.

Klopp is almost certain to make one change to his side that overcame Augsburg however, with Kolo Toure coming in for Lucas Leiva at centre-back after the Ivorian was rested in midweek.

But Toure’s introduction appears likely to be the only switch, with little other alternatives for Klopp, seeing the team almost pick itself, as returning first-teamers Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Joe Allen and Adam Lallana lack the match fitness required for serious consideration.

That lack of sharpness could see the quartet left out of involvement altogether after Klopp said some players will be disappointed with decisions over the final squad, with the German needing match-fit options to call upon.

Therefore, Jordon Ibe, Divock Origi and Christian Benteke could be the men to offer firepower from the bench if needed, with Lucas the midfield alternative.

Jon Flanagan and Steven Caulker – if Lovren is not quite fit enough to come in – could then complete the substitutes with Danny Ward.

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Liverpool’s starting XI and subs bench at Wembley could look something like this:

Man City XI

Substitutes: Ward, Flanagan, Lovren, Lucas, Ibe, Origi, Benteke

It’s time for the players to rise to the occasion at Wembley and signal an exciting new era at Anfield – by continuing Liverpool’s League Cup love affair.


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Pick your XI:

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  1. Would love to see the Toure brothers face each other in a cup final. And I stand by my comments from the last 2 years, Kolo is easily better than Skrtel and Lovren.

    Probably never gonna happen, but I would also drop Hendo for Allen, and Milner for Lallana.

    Sturridge, firmino, coutinho and Lallana should be a pretty creative attacking foursome.

    • Welsh Xavi has a tendency to pass backwards and sideways, giving more pressure to his own team mates than the opposition. And he is too weak to handle high intensity or rough games. At times though, he could be useful as a sub, as we can see from some games where he comes on when the opposition has tired legs, and he can do a few nice passes when not intensely challenged.

      • Yeah. I know what you mean. But he seems to have improved a lot this season, whereas Hendo still seems to suffering from his injury. He’s been invisible in the last few games

      • Your not far wrong but Allen actually always plays awesome again city and Toure strangley always seems to have a nose bleed when facing Allen.

      • He does pass backwards and sideways, yes. But he does play forward too. Just not as often as people like. He prioritises possession, and likes to keep the ball moving. He’s not a bad player, we just don’t seem to want to play that way. But sometimes you need a player like that.

        He may be small, but he’s aggressive and has good work rates/energy levels. He would be in my starting line up tomorrow if he was fit enough.

  2. Cant see many changes from Thursdays game although Milner or Lallana could start alongside Sturridge, Firmino & Coutinho. On another note Steven Caulker cant play, as he played for Southampton in the earlier rounds – something that has been missed in the article, like Flanno being able to selected in your Europa League match team selection article, even though he was not picked for the squad at the start of the competition or 1 of the 3 changes allowed prior to the last round starting.

    • But we weren’t good enough on Thursday. If we couldn’t beat Augsburg at home without a penalty, then we have no chance against City at Wembley

  3. I think a Can Hendo midfield would be potential suicide vs that city attack, but then again I perhaps would say that, being a Lucas fan

  4. I can actually see Klopp play Lallana instead of Milner and Lucas instead of Can. Other than that, I don’t see many changing apart from Kolo coming into the squad.

  5. I believe the only change Klopp would make is Toure for Lucas.

    But I would like to drop Moreno, play Clyne at LB with Flanno at RB to give more defensive solidity to the CBs. And as far as my subs go I’d have Origi, Ojo, Lallana, Stewart, Lucas, Moreno & Ward.

    • I agree about dropping Moreno. Although personally I would throw Origi on the right wing instead of Milner (even tho he s been playing well lately ) and try blitz them in the first 30 mins.

  6. Not a bad idea putting Clyne on the left. He puts defending first which is what we need against the likes of City.

  7. The front three and back four pick themselves, so for me the decisions are:
    4-3-3 vs 4-2-3-1
    Do we play a holding midfielder? I personally would!
    Milner vs Henderson – Henderson is playing poorly ATM

    I would be tempted to play a midfield of Allen-Can(DM)-Milner and bring Henderson on to freshen the heavy metal sound towards the end.

  8. We are too exposed playng 4-2-3-1 against the pacy City wingers. I’m hoping for a 4-3-3 with a midfield of Lallana, Milner & Lucas. But Hendo has to play unfortunately.

  9. Yes, I believe this will be the line-up, but in a slightly different formation perhaps, with Milner joining Can and Henderson in the middle. A slightly defensive 4-3-3, or a 4-3-2-1 if you will. The presence of Milner will provide the option for switching to 4-2-3-1 without substituting anyone, if need be, just like the presence of Firmino offers the possibility of a switch to 4-4-2.

  10. If we play really agresive, with heart and passion we can win this. City have good individual players, but they play more for their egos than for the team and wont give it all in everyball, our players will.

  11. I think we should line up in a 4312 formation.
    Clyne Toure Sakho Moreno
    …Hendo Lucas Milner
    …..Sturridge Firmino

    Lucas has to play to stop Silva. Otherwise it’s just suicide.
    Hendo and Milner are most experienced. Can makes too many poor decisions and City will see him as a weakness to exploit.
    We need a 3 man midfield. We don’t have the players capable of a 2 man midfield.

    I think it’s crucial the front 3 line up like so. Dual 10s (4321) means our 10s line up with their 2 man midfield. Basically putting them there to be man marked. But with one CAM (Phil) it means he can sit in between them, in space. And Toure will probably be part of that 2 man midfield, his lack of tactical discipline should leave Coutinho with all the time and space he needs.

    City have 1 good centre back, Kompany. But his partner is almost guaranteed to be a liability. So instead of putting Sturridge up top by himself, play 2 strikers and create a 2v2 battle… Rather than a 2v1 in their favour.
    Firmino should have the license to free roam, collect the ball deeper and link play.
    Sturridge should be on the last defenders shoulder. City play a high line and always hold their line on the edge of the box. Leaving room in behind for Sturrudge to burn his pace.

    This game is winnable. But we need cool heads, and we need to identify City’s weak points (Cenre backs and Toure) then exploit.

    Whatever we do, we can’t go into this with Coutinho and Milner as wingers. Or with Hendo and Can as our midfield.

  12. I am not a fan of this 4-3-3, Hendo Can and Milner, is as dull as a bread knife, no creativity in there, I would play a 4-4-2, I would start Lovren over Kolo, he is too slow, Aguero, Silva and Sterling will pick him apart, Firmino on the right, Couts on the left, Milner and Can in the middle, Sturridge and Origi up front, those 2 gives you pace, movement and good finishing.

    • Coutinho and Firmino are no good out wide. Especially in a 442 because it’s too defensive a role for players of their attackin talents.

      And a 2 man midfield of Can and Milner lacks tactical discipline and creativity. It also puts Silva in between our 2 midfielders which is asking for trouble.

  13. Guys…there is no live coverage in my country. I’ve missed all the matches(carling cup)… and I don’t wish to miss this one. Can anyone suggest a good site to watch.. even if I have to pay…I will do it!… I’m from Malaysia anyway.
    Thank u….

  14. Nice to see 4 of our players have come back to fitness..remains to be seen if Klopp will use any of them. Perhaps put a couple of them on as subs. Otherwise the starting lineup is fairly set.

    Only decision to make is whether to start Lucas or not. I want him to play finals as well but there should be no room for sentimentality here. He’ll only start if he justifies it but I doubt it personally.

    • If city play Toure behind Aguero and his defensive duties are reduced I think we need Lucas to deal with him but, like you I don’t think he’ll get the nod. If we play Can Hendo and Milner I assume Hendo will probably pick him up ~ also think we need two full backs who can defend so would pick Flanno ahead of Moreno but I think Klopp will stick with Moreno ( I’d love to see Flanno have the chance to give Sterling a good hard but fair bone cruncher ).

      • I saw Toure playing behind Aguero a few times this season, and it didn’t look good.. I hope they play that combination today..

      • It’s more likely to be David silva, who can be more dangerous, but hasn’t looked on it recently.
        I’m nervous just typing this !!

  15. play lallana,countinho,firmino,sturridge,origi only way we winning this match is scoring a lot of goals crush them and zoom on in sterling’s face when we lift the cup

  16. I see that UFC cross-training has been paying off for Flanagan during his recovery! That flying knee and muay thai elbow looks impressive.

  17. ……………………………..migs

  18. The honest truth is City have more quality players than us , & if they are on song they will win whoever JK picks . I am not a fan of Lucas , he would not even be on the bench for me . I go with Mingo . back 4 Clyne , Toure , Sakho & Moreno . D/M Hendo & Can . A/M Firmino , Coutinho , Milner . Sturridge up front . bench Ward . Lallana , Benteke , Allen , Lovren , Brannagan . Origi ,

  19. Surprised to see Toure on the bench, I assumed that him not playing in the last match meant that he was being kept fresh for the final, I don’t know what he did wrong to deserve being benched???, odd decision by Man City not to start Joe Hart too, hopefully it’ll give us a better chance of winning the cup. YNWA!!!

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