Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Andre Marriner
Date & Time – Wednesday, October 30th @ 19:30
Current Odds – Liverpool 4/5, Draw 14/5, Arsenal 16/5
Wednesday night sees Liverpool return to Carabao Cup action against Unai Emery’s Arsenal team at Anfield.
The Reds have won the League Cup a record 8 times. Yet, in the last two seasons, Jurgen Klopp’s men fell at the first hurdle on both occasions.
Klopp did almost win the League Cup in his first year on Merseyside, just losing out on a penalty shootout to Manchester City in the final in February 2016.
In 2016/17, Liverpool reached the semi-finals only to lose out 2-0 on aggregate to Southampton.
Form can be a tricky topic to discuss when it comes to the top teams and their upcoming League Cup fixtures. This is because Liverpool’s starting eleven on Wednesday night will bear little-to-no resemblance to The Reds’ strongest lineup which we are used to seeing week in week out.
Going on Liverpool’s young team’s performance in its 2-0 third-round win at MK Dons, however, we can look forward to another night of exciting football at Anfield this week.
Five players made their competitive debuts for Klopp’s side that night as goals from James Milner and Ki-Jana Hoever ensured progression to the last sixteen.
The Gunners have only lost twice in 14 games across all competitions this season. One of those defeats came at Anfield when Unai Emery’s team went down 3-1 to Liverpool in late August.
In the previous round of the League Cup, Arsenal thrashed Nottingham Forest 5-0 at The Emirates with a young team led by 18-year-old Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli who scored twice on the night.
Last Sunday, Arsenal gave up a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to Crystal Palace in a game where club captain Granit Xhaka was booed off by his own fans after an hour of the game.
It will be interesting to see the mood in The Gunners camp when they arrive in Liverpool on Wednesday.
Liverpool Team News
Nathaniel Clyne and Xherdan Shaqiri are both out through injury. Clyne’s ACL issue keeps him out until February at the earliest while Shaqiri’s ongoing calf/heel problem means he is also unavailable.
Joel Matip missed the win over Spurs due to a knock he picked up in the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford over a week ago. It’s unlikely Matip will be risked in this Carabao Cup fixture.
Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk both suffered injuries against Spurs on Sunday. Salah was taken off with a recurrence of the ankle injury he got against Leicester City. Van Dijk had a dead leg late in the game but was able to see out the full 90 minutes. It’s unlikely either of these players will play any part on Wednesday.
Caoimhin Kelleher made his Reds debut in the last round at MK Dons. Klopp needs to decide whether to stick with the Irishman or give some more game-time to Adrian who impressed so much during Alisson’s early-season injury absence. I think Klopp will opt for Adrian to start in this case.
Neco Williams and Sepp van den Berg could start at right-back and centre-back, respectively. Van den Berg will probably partner Joe Gomez in the middle of the back four. James Milner could play at left-back.
Adam Lallana might be employed in the ‘6’ role at the base of Liverpool’s midfield and, hopefully, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain just ahead of him in that trio.
Up front, it should be the same players who started at MK Dons. That is, Harvey Elliott wide on the right with Rhian Brewster through the middle and Curtis Jones on the left.
Arsenal Team News
Reiss Nelson is the only Arsenal player currently listed as being injured. His knee injury keeps the youngster out until early November at least.
Like Liverpool, Arsenal played a second-string team made up of a healthy mix of experienced players and youth talents in the previous round.
I would expect Unai Emery to employ the same approach this week.
Gabriel Martinelli is certainly one to watch and could give Liverpool’s backline a tough night.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Adrian; Williams, Gomez, Van den Berg, Milner; Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Keita; Elliott, Brewster, Jones
Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1) – Martinez; Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Tierney; Torreira, Willock; Rowe, Ozil, Saka; Martinelli
When they last met
Arsenal haven’t won in the last 9 meetings between the sides, drawing four and losing five. Their last win at Anfield was in 2012 when goals from Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla gave them a 2-0 win in the Premier League fixture.
Liverpool won 3-1 in the league back in August and 5-1 in last season’s home fixture against The Gunners.
Liverpool 2 – 1 Arsenal
This game could be a cracking one for football fans. Two young teams will be going for the jugular as they try to book their place in the quarter-finals of this season’s competition.
Liverpool’s more experienced lineup should play a huge part in securing a victory for Klopp’s side in a game where I fancy both teams to get on the scoresheet.