Liverpool vs. Fulham
League Cup (semi-final first leg) | Anfield
January 10, 2024 | 8pm (GMT)
Visions of a quadruple are starting to dance into Liverpool fans’ dreams.
League Cup record-breakers
This will be Liverpool’s 19th appearance at the semi-final stage of the competition, from 58 entries. That means the Reds have reached the last four almost one in every three attempts.
From their 18 semi-final appearances before 2024, Liverpool have progressed 13 times and gone on to win the trophy a record nine times, once more than Man City.
Unfortunately, Pep Lijnders had to reveal that Trent Alexander-Arnold is set for “probably” three weeks out with a knee injury.
Thankfully, Liverpool have their ‘winter break’ during that period, but he will likely still miss five matches – see which ones here.
With Joe Gomez being used at left-back, covering for the injured duo of Kostas Tsimikas and Andy Robertson, Conor Bradley will likely start the biggest game of his young career on the right side of defence.
Lijnders insisted that Bradley and Bobby Clark are “not back-up players, they are part of our squad.”
On the positive side…
Predicted Liverpool XI: Kelleher; Bradley, Konate, Van Dijk, Gomez; Mac Allister, Gravenberch, Jones; Elliott, Jota, Diaz
Something that came slightly out of the blue in Lijnders’ press conference was him revealing that he worked with Andreas Pereira as a child.
Liverpool’s assistant manager explained: “He was my player when he was nine years old at PSV Eindhoven – unbelievable that we play against him now, so much creativity.”
Former Liverpool prospect Harry Wilson is also doing well for the Cottagers. Lijnders commented: “Harry, of course, we know really well, who has goal threat, can shoot from anywhere, great personality. We really like him.”
Fulham are inconsistent but dangerous
Inconsistency has been a problem, though, following those brilliant wins up with three defeats in a row before beating Arsenal.
Gaps between games
This means they will have a somewhat longer ‘winter break’, although the first leg does eat into that. After Wednesday’s fixture, Liverpool won’t play for 11 days.
While we can only predict the rest of the team, albeit with some certainty, we can confirm Caoimhin Kelleher will play in goal.
“We come from a crazy schedule in December, so we really have to see who’s ready, who can go and who is fit to go. We are really happy that we play a semi-final in January, we wanted this. So we go full in.”
There will be no video assistant referee in place for either of the League Cup semi-finals.
This was originally not intended to be the case, but with Middlesbrough reaching this stage and not having the technology installed at the Riverside, that has changed things.
To keep things fair in the EFL’s opinion, neither leg of any semi-final tie will use VAR, though it will be in place at Wembley for the final.
Another ref who isn’t exactly liked at Liverpool!
David Coote has been appointed referee for the Anfield clash, with Timothy Wood and Wade Smith acting as his assistants.
Coote’s name will be familiar to Liverpool supporters as he was the VAR who failed to award a penalty after Martin Odegaard’s blatant handball during the Reds’ match against Arsenal on December 23.
The fourth official at Anfield will be Tim Robinson.
Follow the match with TIA
TIA’s matchday live blog will be up and running from 7.15pm, with Henry Jackson tasked with keeping you entertained and up-to-date.
Come on you Reds!