Liverpool head to MK Dons in the League Cup third round on Wednesday night, with a much-changed starting lineup expected.
MK Dons vs. Liverpool
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 – 7.45pm (BST)
League Cup Third Round
Referee: Oliver Langford
If there were any fears that the Reds’ defeat away to Napoli last week would curtail their progress in the Premier League, those concerns were swiftly erased on Sunday.
However, the stress of league focus makes way for League Cup commitments in midweek, as the Reds face MK Dons for the first time ever.
In truth, this is the least of Liverpool’s priorities this season, but it is still an opportunity to win a trophy and build on this new-found winning mentality.
It is also a great chance for Klopp to rest key men and give fringe players and youngsters some minutes, prior to Saturday’s trip to Sheffield United.
There should be no great issue in progressing to round four, but Liverpool’s League One opponents will be revved-up, on what will be one of the biggest nights in the club’s history.
Klopp is expected to ring the changes at Stadium MK – he may even alter all 11 players from the Chelsea victory.
MK Dons were founded back in 2004, after Wimbledon controversially relocated to Milton Keynes, having gained approval from the FA.
Since then, the Buckinghamshire club have spent most of their time in League One – they are currently 15th in the table – although a few stints in League Two and one season in the Championship have also unfolded.
The Dons are managed by Paul Tidsdale, who Liverpool came up against in 2016 when the Reds knocked his Exeter City side out of the FA Cup, following a third-round replay.
The 46-year-old inspired his side to promotion in his first season at MK Dons last year, proving to be an instant hit with the supporters.
In terms of key men, midfield pair Alex Gilbey and Conor McGrandles are the current holders of the club’s Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards, respectively.
Former Everton youngster Kieran Agard is a threat, although just one goal so far this season pales into insignificance in comparison to his 22 last term.
Address: Stadium Way W, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK1 1ST
Did You Know?
Although League Cup glory hasn’t come Liverpool’s way for almost eight years, they have actually reached at least the semi-finals in three of the last five seasons.
The last two seasons have seen Klopp’s men exit at the first hurdle, however – they lost to Leicester and Chelsea – so an improvement is required this time around.
MK Dons – Last five results (all competitions)
Lost 1-0 vs. Southend
Lost 1-0 vs. Ipswich
Won 3-0 vs. Blackpool
Won 2-1 vs. AFC Wimbledon
Won 3-0 vs. Stevenage
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Sitting in for Klopp on press conference duty, a hugely insightful Lijnders heaped praise on potential debutant Brewster:
“I was his coach when he [joined Liverpool] from Chelsea, under-15s and under-16s.
“That he is already on the bench away at Chelsea, for me is massive. But for him of course, [he wants more].
“It makes us all proud. He’s a player who even if he starts or doesn’t start tomorrow, is a player who is every time [around] already.
“He had a long injury, it was not that easy for him. But he has goals in him, he has technique, good physicality, he’s a complete striker.
“A typical No. 9, who can come to first balls, who can score with his head, who can turn in the box, who can play one-on-one, can score a scruffy goal as well, [has an] unbelievable shot.
“And a good boy, otherwise he would not be in our team! Good character.”
TV & Liveblog Info
MK Dons vs. Liverpool is live on Sky Sports Main Event from 7.30pm (BST), with kickoff at 7.45pm.
Chris Williams is on matchday liveblog duty, keeping you entertained from 7pm.