Liverpool kick off their 2017-18 Carabao Cup campaign underway on Tuesday when they take on Leicester City at the King Power Stadium
The Football League Cup has returned this season with a new name this season – the Carabao Cup. The third round gets underway on Tuesday, with Liverpool bidding to improve on their performance last season when they travel to the King Power Stadium to take on Leicester City.
The hosts come into this match on the back of a terrible run of results, with their last win coming almost a month back – a 4-1 away success at Sheffield United in the second round of the same competition. Their most recent result was a 1-1 draw at Huddersfield in the Premier League over the weekend.
Liverpool, too, are looking to get back to winning ways on Tuesday, with the Reds winless in September thus far. The month started on a whimper, with Manchester City routing them 5-0 last weekend before consecutive stalemates against Sevilla and Burnley compounded their misery.
The last meeting between the two sides ended in a resounding 3-0 win for Leicester, in what was Craig Shakespeare’s first game in charge of the Foxes. Ahead of their latest meeting on Tuesday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Craig Shakespeare is expected to make a number of changes ahead of the visit of Liverpool, owing to three intense matchups within a week for his side. On Tuesday, however, the Leicester City boss will also be without four key first-team players due to various injuries.
The major absentee is Jamie Vardy, who came off early at Huddersfield on the weekend due to a groin injury. Shakespeare has confirmed that the English striker is not a part of his squad for the cup tie, but expects him to return for the weekend’s meeting against the Reds.
Also unavailable due to fitness issues are Matty James (Achilles), Christian Fuchs (eye) and Robert Huth (eye). Meanwhile, Shakespeare has said that he has included academy youngsters Josh Knight and Hamza Choudhury in his matchday squad.
While the duo might start on the bench, the likes of Demarai Gray, Vicente Iborra, Shinji Okazaki and Ahmed Musa could feature from the start with the Leicester manager likely to rest some of his key men for the tie.
Possible Starting XI (4-4-2): Hamer; Simpson, Morgan, Dragovic, Chilwell; Musa, Amartey, Iborra, Gray; Ulloa, Okazaki
Like his counterpart in the Leicester City dugout, Jurgen Klopp is expected to ring in the changes as well on Tuesday. Unlike Shakespeare though, the Liverpool boss does not have any fresh injury concerns to deal with ahead of the visit to the King Power Stadium.
Adam Lallana (thigh) and Nathaniel Clyne (back) remain the key long-term absentees, although Klopp continues to provide promising updates on the duo’s recovery. Sadio Mane serves the second of his three-match ban.
Meanwhile, Klopp has confirmed three of his starters for Tuesday. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to make his long-awaited first start in a Liverpool shirt on the night. English goalkeeper Danny Ward and Marko Grujic will also feature from the beginning of the game.
The likes of Dominic Solanke, Jon Flanagan, Ben Woodburn and Danny Ings are also in contention to feature from the get-go on Tuesday, while Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Joel Matip are expected to given the night off to get some rest.
Possible Starting XI (4-3-3): Ward; Flanagan, Gomez, Lovren, Moreno; Wijnaldum, Milner, Grujic; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Woodburn
- Liverpool have won three, drawn one, and lost two of their last six meetings with Leicester City – all encounters have been played after the Foxes secured promotion to the Premier League in 2014.
- The two sides have met just once in the League Cup, with Liverpool enjoying an emphatic 4-1 win at the same stage enroute to the final in 1987.
- Leicester City have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 12 outings in the League Cup. Their last clean sheet came in August 2012 against Torquay.
- Liverpool are the most successful side in the competition, winning it eight times while finishing as the runners up four times.
- Liverpool have managed to win just one of their last five League Cup encounters against Premier League opposition (D1 L3).
Player To Watch
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sent shockwaves across England when he called time on his career at Arsenal in search of a fresh start to his career. However, the start of his Liverpool spell has been anything but promising, with his side playing out two draws in addition to the hammering from Manchester City.
On Tuesday though, the Englishman is set to make his first start for his new club, when he will have the chance to show just how important he can be for Jurgen Klopp this season. With a host of options at the Liverpool manager’s disposal, this match is also an opportunity for Oxlade-Chamberlain to make a case for himself to be a regular at his new club.
Leicester City 1-2 Liverpool
After a strong start to the season, things have gone pear-shaped for Liverpool in September. But, the Carabao Cup tie against Leicester City gives Jurgen Klopp an opportunity to start with a clean slate in a new competition.
With several untested players set to feature on Tuesday on both sides, goals can be expected on both ends. But, with the kind of firepower at Klopp’s disposal gives Liverpool an early edge. Therefore, The Hard Tackle predicts an odd goal win for Liverpool, with new boy Dominic Solanke likely to get on the score sheet.