Next Up: Reading – Carling Cup

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Liverpool travel to the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday night to face Reading in the third round of the Carling Cup (kick off 7:45pm), live on Sky Sports 2.

The two sides met at the same stage of last season’s competition when Liverpool won an exciting match 4-3 at Anfield courtesy of goals from Robbie Fowler, Riise, Gabriel Paletta and Peter Crouch.

That night Rafa Benitez opted to use his squad and gave fringe players and some youngsters a chance – Reds fans will be expecting the same again after the Spaniard rotated his squad twice in the last week for two important league matches, leading to four points being dropped.

Crouch is expected to start up front; Sebastien Leto and Yossi Benayoun are likely to come in to midfield and there could be a full debut for Brazilian starlet Lucas Leiva. Full back Fabio Aurelio could also make his first start of the season after returning from the achilles tendon injury he suffered in April.

Whether Benitez will rest Pepe Reina and give new reserve keeper Charles Itandje his debut is yet to be known.

Benitez may also use the match to give youngsters like Jack Hobbs and Robbie Threlfall a chance after the injury to Daniel Agger which will leave the Reds short of cover in defence over the next six weeks. Moroccan midfielder Nabil El Zhar is also tipped to feature and full back Emiliano Insua could play some part.

Speaking ahead of the match on Monday, Rafa said Benitez said: ‘œFor some of the players who are not playing too much in the Premier League or the Champions League, this will be an important competition for them.

‘œIt is a trophy I would be happy to win, the first season I was here we got to the final. I would like to be in the final again.

‘œSome of the senior players will have to play against Reading, I will not change the whole team. It depends on who is available and what cover we have in certain positions.

‘œBut I would hope to give players who are not playing regularly in the Premier League the chance to play.’

Benitez added: ‘œIt is clear, though, that with a big squad we need to see some of the other players.

‘œThey must be involved because you cannot have them in the squad and then tell them you will not use them in any game.

‘œIf we stay in the Carling Cup, the FA Cup, the Premier League and the Champions League they will obviously have more chances to play.’

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