League Cup semi-finals within touching distance – Liverpool vs. Leeds United Preview

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Liverpool welcome Leeds United to Anfield in the League Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday, as an age-old rivalry plays out its latest act.

Liverpool vs. Leeds United

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 – 7:45pm (GMT)
Anfield
League Cup
Referee: Andre Marriner

The Reds battled their way to a 2-0 win at home to Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday, but attention now turns to the League Cup.

Liverpool were defeated on penalties by Man City in last season’s final, and Jurgen Klopp will be desperate to go one better this season.

A resurgent Leeds side travel to Merseyside attempting to cause an upset, with Garry Monk’s side in the Championship play-off positions currently.

While Liverpool will understandably be strong favourites to progress, they will not have it all their own way against a club with great history of their own.

The Reds and the Whites have had some memorable clashes down the years, from the hot-headed Charity Shield showdown in 1974 to Liverpool’s late show at Elland Road in the FA Cup fourth round in 2001.

Tuesday’s encounter could provide more drama in a classic British footballing matchup—a win for Liverpool puts them closer to a first piece of silverware in five years.

 

Last Meeting

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 22, 2009: Liverpool's David Ngog in action against Leeds United during the League Cup 3rd Round match at Elland Road. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Leeds were relegated from the Premier League in 2004, with their last league showdown with Liverpool a 2-2 draw at Elland Road in February of that year. It was five years before the two teams met each other again.

That meeting came in the League Cup third round, with Rafa Benitez’s Reds sneaking a 1-0 victory at the home of their opponents.

The game’s only goal came via the right foot of much-maligned striker David N’Gog, with the Frenchman finishing clinically to send his side into the fourth round.

It is now over seven years later, but Liverpool supporters will hope for the same outcome.

 

Opposition Q&A

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 22, 2009: Liverpool's captain Jamie Carragher leads his side out to face Leeds United during the League Cup 3rd Round match at Elland Road. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We spoke to Leeds fan Rik Cridland (@RikCridland) to get his thoughts on Leeds’ season and their chances of springing a shock at Anfield.

Leeds currently sit 5th in the Championship table—this must be a joy after so many years of disappointment, right?

We are Leeds fans, we won’t be taking anything for granted! Yes, it’s very nice to be up there, but sadly the last 15 years has taught us to be wary.

Things change very quickly in football and particularly with an owner like Massimo Cellino. But yes, the team’s good to watch at the minute, so we’re enjoying ourselves.

Who do you see as Leeds’ key men going into the game?

It’s tricky to know what team Monk will go for, as he’s mixed it up in previous rounds, but I’d expect the big man Pontus Jansson to come back in. He and Kyle Bartley at centre-back have been awesome this season.

Also keep an eye out for Hadi Sakho, a winger with bags of pace and trickery. On his day, he is very exciting to watch and creates chances from nothing.

James Milner, Leeds United (Picture by Adam Davy EMPICS Sport)

Switching our attention to Liverpool, how do you rate them this season? Any players you’re particularly fond or scared of?

It’s nice to see Liverpool doing well and playing some attractive football. I’ve heard people question whether you can defend, but given your propensity to score five or six goals at the other end, who cares?

Frankly, all your forward line are scary so we’re just hoping you lot have an off day.

If I have a favourite Liverpool player it’s going to be James Milner, isn’t it? Amazing to think that he was only 17 when we last played you guys at Anfield in 2003.

What’s your prediction for Tuesday’s game—a shock on the cards?

If it had been at Elland Road I’d have been more optimistic about us getting a result, but it’s going to be tough. We just have to hope you guys have an off game and we can rattle you a little.

If we can keep it tight and maybe even nick an early goal, who knows? I’m going for 1-1 and then penalties. Leeds to win.

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 26, 2016: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia lies injured against Sunderland during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp has been dealt a blow with the news that Philippe Coutinho will be until for the rest of 2016, after he suffered ankle ligament damage against Sunderland.

In truth, the Brazilian was likely to be rested for the visit of Leeds anyway, but longer term, it could be damaging to Liverpool’s title aspirations.

Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana are both also out with respective calf and groin problems, although the attacking duo should be fit sooner rather than later.

Roberto Firmino is unlikely to feature either, having not trained on Monday.

The Reds’ starting lineup is expected to be much-changed on Tuesday, as was the case against Tottenham in the last 16, when Klopp made 11 alterations.

Simon Mignolet, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Lucas Leiva, Ragnar Klavan and Alberto Moreno could all come into the back line, while youngsters Marko Grujic and Ovie Ejaria will hope to start in midfield.

Divock Origi should lead the line after his match-changing strike against Sunderland, and prodigious teenager Ben Woodburn could also feature, having made his senior debut on Saturday.

 

Form

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 26, 2016: Liverpool's Divock Origi celebrates scoring the first goal againstSunderland during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 2-0 vs. Sunderland
Won 6-1 vs. Watford
Won 4-2 vs. Crystal Palace
Won 2-1 vs. Tottenham
Won 2-1 vs. West Brom

Leeds – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 2-1 vs. Rotherham
Lost 2-0 vs. Newcastle
Won 3-2 vs. Norwich
Won 2-0 vs. Burton
Drew 2-2 vs. Norwich (won 3-2 on penalties)

 

Klopp’s View

Klopp spoke about Origi’s lack of opportunities this season, saying it is something you have to deal with as a footballer:

“There’s no alternative to being patient. Moan everyday? Talk to me everyday?

“That’s the way it works. It wasn’t the most easy time for him, but it’s not that it’s the worst time in his life.

“The group is very respectful. It’s a good group, so how we handle the players—as long as they want and as long as they work—they can get all the help they want.

“It’s the same for Divock and a few other players. If you have a quality group it’s more difficult to go through the door.

“It’s not that serious or hard. It’s not nice, but it’s training, with good people around. That’s good and he’s in a good way again.”

 

One to Watch: Charlie Taylor

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 2, 2008: Snow drifts down illuminated by the Elland Road floodlights during the FA Youth Cup 3rd Round match between Leeds United and Liverpool. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Back in August, Liverpool were loosely linked with a move for Charlie Taylor, but it never came to fruition.

The 23-year-old left-back is a talented young player, and at 6’1″ tall, he is not one to be daunted by a physical challenge either.

It will be worth keeping an eye on Taylor on Tuesday evening to see if he has the potential to be a future Reds player.

That is, of course, assuming he starts. You can never second-guess managers in the League Cup these days.

 

TV Info

UK viewers: Liverpool vs. Leeds Utd is being shown live on Sky Sports 1 in the UK, which is available to live stream with a NOW TV day pass.

This Is Anfield readers can get 10% off a NOW TV Sports day pass here.

US viewers: Liverpool vs. Leeds Utd is being shown live on beIN Sports in the US, which is available to live stream with FuboTV.

Get a 24 hour free trial here to watch the match live.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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