Liverpool host Arsenal in the fourth round of the League Cup on Wednesday night, allowing Jurgen Klopp to ring the changes.
Liverpool vs. Arsenal
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 – 7.30pm (GMT)
League Cup Fourth Round
Referee: Andre Marriner
The Reds were superb for large periods last weekend, completely outplaying Tottenham on their way to a 2-1 victory.
It was a massive win in Klopp’s side’s season, especially after falling behind in the first minute to a fortunate Harry Kane strike.
The stress of the Premier League title race makes way for more serene League Cup commitments in midweek, as Arsenal return to Anfield two months after losing 3-1 there in the league.
Unai Emery is under increasing pressure to save his job, particularly after Sunday’s 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace, when captain Granit Xhaka’s behaviour angered the supporters.
There is no denying that this is the least important of Liverpool’s competitions this season, but progressing is still key.
It will allow Klopp to continue rotating his squad and the importance of keeping trophy wins ticking along should never be sniffed at.
This may not be the type of high-intensity, nerve-shredding encounter that occurs in the league, but it should still make for intriguing viewing.
It is a wonderful opportunity for youngsters and fringe players to prove their worth, giving the manager a selection headache ahead of Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa.
There are no new injury problems for Klopp to contend with, but Joel Matip and Xherdan Shaqiri are still out and Nathaniel Clyne is a long-term absentee.
Klopp could change his entire starting lineup from the victory over Spurs, in order to refresh key men and give others a chance.
Caoimhin Kelleher is a confirmed starter ahead of Alisson in goal, while at the back, it would be a huge surprise if Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson started.
Dejan Lovren could retain his place, however, with Joe Gomez expected to come into the team after struggling for playing time this season.
Ki-Jana Hoever is away on international duty with the Netherlands at the Under-17 World Cup, which may give 18-year-old Neco Williams an opportunity to make his Liverpool debut.
In midfield, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will surely both start, while Adam Lallana could also feature prominently.
Curtis Jones has been in sparkling for Liverpool’s Under-23s and will hope to play, as will brilliant teenage pair Harvey Elliott and Rhian Brewster.
Emery is also sure to make plenty of alterations to his personnel and has confirmed he will leave out Xhaka after the weekend controversy.
Reiss Nelson is missing for the visitors.
Last 5 at Home to Arsenal (All Competitions)
Won 3-1 – August 2019 (Matip, Salah x2 (1 pen); Torreira)
Won 5-1 – December 2018 (Firmino x3, Mane, Salah; Maitland-Niles)
Won 4-0 – August 2017 (Firmino, Mane, Salah, Sturridge)
Won 3-1 – March 2017 (Firmino, Mane, Wijnaldum; Welbeck)
Drew 3-3 – January 2016 (Firmino x2, Allen; Ramsey, Giroud x2)
Did You Know?
Liverpool haven’t lost at home to Arsenal since September 2012, when Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla inspired the Gunners to a 2-0 victory.
Since then, the Reds have won five out of the seven meetings, highlighting their dominance in the fixture.
In that time, Liverpool have twice beaten the north London outfit 5-1 and picked up a 4-0 triumph.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 2-1 vs. Tottenham
Won 4-1 vs. Genk
Drew 1-1 vs. Man United
Won 2-1 vs. Leicester
Won 4-3 vs. Salzburg
Arsenal – Last five results (all competitions)
Drew 2-2 vs. Crystal Palace
Won 3-2 vs. Vitoria
Lost 1-0 vs. Sheffield United
Won 1-0 vs. Bournemouth
Won 4-0 vs. Standard Liege
Speaking on Tuesday, Pepijn Lijnders lauded the ability of Kelleher:
“[He] started this competition and he’s the one who will start tomorrow.
“He’s a goalkeeper who on the line is excellent, but his calmness to play out and find a free player… for his age as a goalkeeper is very stable.
“That’s what we like about him, we see a good future for him and we want to give him this opportunity. You need these to grow and that’s why we want to give him that.”
TV & Liveblog Info
Liverpool vs. Arsenal is live on Sky Sports Football from 7pm (GMT), with kickoff at 7.30pm.
Chris Williams is in charge of talking you through the action on This is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, keeping you company from 6.45pm.