Liverpool vs. West Ham: 10 key things to know ahead of Carabao Cup quarter-final

Liverpool’s second of three home games in eight days sees West Ham arrive at Anfield for the Carabao Cup quarter-final, with the potential for a massive confidence boost ahead of Arsenal on Saturday.

Liverpool vs. West Ham

Carabao Cup Quarter-Final | Anfield
Wednesday, December 20, 2023 | 8pm (GMT)


1. Cup distraction

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 27, 2023: Liverpool players lines-up before the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Captain Curtis Jones, goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, Ibrahima Konaté, Jarell Quansah, Water Endo, Diogo Jota, Kostas Tsimikas, Ryan Gravenberch, Cody Gakpo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sandwiched between home games against Man United and Arsenal, this tie comes as a bit of a distraction – which would either be positive or negative!

The positive is, fringe players can get playing time, although the growing injury list doesn’t make that quite as positive as it might have been.

The decreased preparation time for both this and then the Saturday evening match vs. Arsenal does make this quite a tricky one for Jurgen to navigate.


2. Team news

There’s a fair few ruled out for Liverpool. Long-term absentees Thiago, Stefan Bajcetic and Andy Robertson are now joined by Joel Matip and Diogo Jota – with the latter now back doing ball work but certainly not ready for this match.

Ryan Gravenberch could be available, with his injury revealed to be only muscle fatigue, but it seems unlikely he’ll start.

Ben Doak is sidelined with a long-term knee injury, while Alexis Mac Allister is now out until next year.

It means that the options up front and in midfield are severely limited.


3. Pre-match Pepijn hints at strong selection as Reds seek silverware!

Assistant boss Pepijn Lijnders was on pre-match press conference duty on Tuesday, with the Dutchman providing a rather large hint that the team selection will be on the stronger side, especially given the injuries in midfield and up front.

“If you want to build a team who really can compete, you need to play in finals,” he said.

“That’s why this Carabao Cup is so important – because you play already in January a semi-final. To grow, to make this step, that’s massive.

“The most important thing is, the boys – our players, Virgil, Dominik, Trent, Robbo, Mo – these guys have the ambition to win, they want more trophies.”


4. The other ties

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 26, 2018: The Football League Cup trophy, with Carabao branding, on display before the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The other quarter-final ties all take place on Tuesday night, and are:

Everton vs. Fulham
Port Vale vs. Middlesbrough
Chelsea vs. Newcastle

The draw for the semi-finals takes place after Liverpool’s game on Wednesday night.


5. West Ham in relatively good form

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 7, 2021: West Ham United's manager David Moyes celebrates his side's third goal during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After a bit of a slow start to the season, David Moyes’ side have found form recently, with just one defeat in nine games in all competitions – mind, that defeat was 5-0 at Fulham!

A comfortable 3-0 win over Wolves on Sunday puts them back in a confident mood ahead of their trip to Anfield.

The Hammers beat Arsenal 3-1 in the last 16 of this competition, when Moyes named an almost full-strength side.


5. No extra time

This tie has to be settled on the night, but there will be no extra time if the scores are level – it will go straight to a penalty shootout.


6. All change or relatively strong?

Klopp won’t be able to make 11 changes, but we can bank on a few certainties.

Caoimhin Kelleher will come into the side, as will surely Joe Gomez, Jarell Quansah, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Cody Gakpo.

Quite how much the boss rotates will be interesting. A stronger side would signal an intention to win the first silverware of the season – as Lijnders has hinted at.

Whereas more heavy rotation, with the likes of Luke Chambers and Conor Bradley involved, would signal more of a focus on Arsenal on Saturday. That seems less likely.

This is a very winnable competition given the other sides left in it, and with the three games this week at home, don’t be surprised if Klopp names a strong side.

We could see Ibrahima Konate and Virgil van Dijk share a 45 each again.

Potential Liverpool XI: Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Quansah, Van Dijk/Konate, Gomez; Endo, Jones, Elliott; Salah, Nunez, Gakpo


7. Anfield capacity

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2023: A general view of Anfield and the newly opened upper tier of the Anfield Road stand seen during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda) This image is a composite of multiple images.

Anfield will continue to operate at a capacity around 57,000 for this one, following on from Sunday’s highest attendance since 1963.

Indeed, the 57,158 was the third-biggest attendance in Anfield’s history.

The plan for total new capacity of close to 61,000 is for the end of January.

West Ham have sold out their allocation of 6,000 tickets.


8. Did you know?

2HT924Y Liverpool's Jordan Henderson (left) and goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher celebrate with the trophy after winning the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday 27th February, 2022.

Liverpool have won the League Cup more times than any other English side (nine times).

Yeah, you probably knew that!

A win here would put the Reds into their 19th semi-final in the competition, which would also be a record.


9. The referee

Tim Robinson (from West Sussex) has refereed Liverpool only once before. That saw Liverpool win 3-1 against Leicester in the third round of this season’s Carabao Cup.

A night we all remember for Szoboszlai’s rocket of a goal!


10. How to follow

For UK visitors, the match is live on Sky Sports. Kickoff at 8pm GMT.

As ever, This Is Anfield will be providing our biased and essential match coverage here, with Henry Jackson on liveblog duties from 7.30pm – we hope to see you there!