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Reds & Rams eye up a place in League Cup fourth round – Derby vs. Liverpool Preview

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Liverpool will be looking to book a place in the League Cup fourth round on Tuesday evening, when Jurgen Klopp‘s side take on Championship side Derby County at Pride Park.

Derby County vs. Liverpool

Tuesday, 20th September 2016, 7:45pm (BST)
Pride Park
League Cup
Referee: Graham Scott

The Reds are firing on all cylinders at the moment, with anyone associated with the club enjoying an extra spring in their step.

After dispatching of Chelsea in the Premier League on Friday, attention now turns to League Cup commitments, with the Reds’ 5-0 mauling of Burton Albion in the last round setting up a trip to Derby in round three.

Klopp made just four changes in that match, with the strength of his starting line-up proof that the competition means a lot to him.

Liverpool have now gone almost five years without a trophy, and while the league is clearly the priority in 2016/17, the German is right in seeing the League Cup as a realistic chance of silverware.

Although Derby have made a shaky start to life under Nigel Pearson, winning just one of their eight Championship games to date, they will not give Liverpool an easy night at the office.

A big home crowd is expected, and the Reds will need to be switched on from minute one.

 

Opposition View

We spoke with Derby supporter Aaron Sheldon (@KingSidney85) to get the lowdown on the Rams.

It’s obviously not been an ideal start – how do you assess Derby’s first month or so of the season?

On the goal front, not very good at all, having just missed out on another unwanted record (failure to score in the 1-1 draw with Bristol City would have meant the least amount of goals in the first eight games ever in the Championship).

The team is showing improvements, and once the goals start going in I feel we will be fine.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, New Year's Day, January 1, 2015: Leicester City's Nigel Pearson during the Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

You seem to have been agonisingly close to promotion a number of times – do you feel that ship has now sailed a little, with a rebuilding job under Nigel Pearson underway?

In hindsight, huge money was wasted last year. Nigel Pearson needs time and patience, and has a really big job on his hands.

He has got rid of the big earners that were not contributing and brought in the players that suit his style. We have the right manager; we must give him time.

Which players should Liverpool be fearful of on Tuesday, and on the flip side, which Reds heroes fill you with dread?

On their day. Will Hughes, Craig Bryson, Matej Vydra and Ikechi Anya can be a nuisance to any team. They are showing signs that they are starting to click.

On the flip side, after watching Liverpool dismantle Chelsea we have to be fearful of every player. They are hard-working on and off the ball, and also very quick when attacking.

Klopp seems to be starting something special at Anfield.

The last time the two teams met was in 2007/08, with Liverpool winning 6-0 at Anfield and 2-1 at Pride Park. Do you have any specific memories of those games?

Liverpool, England - Saturday, September 1, 2007: Liverpool's Fernando Torres and Derby County's Michael Johnson during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I was at Anfield for the 6-0 thrashing. The only memory I have is being 6-0 down and us Derby fans singing very loud and proud. The home tie if I remember right was a very late winner from Stevie G. Overall, it was a very forgettable season.

How do you expect the match to pan out this time around? Derby to spring a surprise?

If every player is on their game it could be a competitive match but I expect Liverpool to have too much for us come the final whistle.

 

Pride Park

Football - FA Cup - 3rd Round - Derby County FC v Tranmere Rovers FC

Capacity: 33,597

Away fans’ pubs: The Harvester on Pride Park, The Navigation Inn and The Telegraph on London Road.

 

Team News

FLEETWOOD, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 13, 2016: Liverpool's goalkeeper Loris Karius in action against Fleetwood Town during a friendly match at Highbury Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp will likely make a few changes to the team that won so impressively at Chelsea, but he certainly won’t disrespect the League Cup with his team selection.

You only have to look at the Burton starting XI to see that, with Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all starting, among others.

Loris Karius should finally make his Liverpool debut, having only just recovered from the broken hand he suffered in late July.

The German is generally seen as the Reds’ future first-choice goalkeeper, and he will be desperate to show that he should replace Simon Mignolet sooner rather than later.

The likes of Alberto Moreno, Emre Can and Divock Origi could also get some playing under their belts. There could be opportunities for Marko Grujic, Danny Ings and Alberto Moreno too.

Klopp’s injury woes have eased up nicely, especially in comparison to last season, when a new hamstring problem seemed to crop up every other week.

Mamadou Sakho is still not fit enough to make a return, while Joe Gomez and Sheyi Ojo are also missing.

Roberto Firmino missed the Chelsea win with a groin strain, but Klopp confirmed on Monday that he was fit, saying, “we said give him three days then everything will be perfect—today is the fourth day, so he’s in.”

 

Form

LONDON, ENGLAND - Friday, September 16, 2016: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates scoring the second goal against Chelsea during the FA Premier League match at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 2-1 vs. Chelsea (a)
Won 4-1 vs. Leicester (h)
Drew 1-1 vs. Tottenham (a)
Won 5-0 vs. Burton (a)
Lost 2-0 vs. Burnley (a)

Derby – Last five results (all competitions)

Drew 1-1 vs. Bristol City (a)
Lost 1-0 vs. Ipswich (h)
Lost 2-0 vs. Newcastle (h)
Lost 1-0 vs. Burton (a)
Drew 1-1 vs. Carlisle (h) – won 14-13 on penalties

Klopp’s View

Klopp played down the idea of him fielding a “weakened” team, saying whoever is on the pitch for Liverpool will be strong.

“In my opinion we only have strong lineups, so you can be sure we’ll find a strong lineup again.

“If a player after the Spurs game had a little bit of an issue, of course we didn’t risk him [for Burton Albion in the second round].

“But it’s not about resting 100-percent-fit players.

“It’s a normal rhythm (to play midweek and weekend), it’s a rhythm we want to have next season again, with games every three or four days.

“We know how to handle it, we know about recovery. It’s about taking risks, but not with players who aren’t 100 percent.”

One to Watch: Will Hughes

One of the Championship’s most talented players, Will Hughes has been talked about as one of English football’s best young players for a while now.

Despite seemingly being around for a long time, Hughes is still only 21, and his importance to Derby can never be overstated.

A classy midfielder in the mould of Jack Wilshere, Hughes is blessed with great creativity in his left foot, but is also a box-to-box presence.

Liverpool have been linked with the youngster in the past, and a strong showing from him on Tuesday is essential, if Derby are to spring a surprise.

Odds & TV Info

The Reds are the strong favourites to progress to the fourth round, with Klopp’s side 4/9 to secure victory inside 90 minutes.

Derby are a whopping 7/1 to win in front of their home crowd, while the draw is 3/1. Liverpool are 1/4 to qualify, with the Rams 11/4 to go through.

The match is not live on UK television, so why not do the next best thing and follow our live blog throughout the evening. The liveblog is also available on the free This Is Anfield app for iPhone and Android.

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