A place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals will be up for grabs when Preston North End welcome Liverpool to Deepdale on Wednesday.
The curtains will fall on the Carabao Cup Round of 16 on Wednesday, with as many as five matches on show. Several Premier League clubs are in action, but Liverpool have probably been handed the most favourable draw as they travel to Deepdale to lock horns with Preston North End.
Preston North End entered the Carabao Cup right at its onset, kicking off their cup campaign with a 3-0 win over Mansfield Town. In the two rounds that followed, the Lilywhites were ruthless again, as they scored four goals each against Morecambe and Cheltenham to set up the fourth round date with Liverpool, who reached the round of 16 courtesy of a 3-0 win over Norwich City.
Preston and Liverpool, though, have had contrasting runs of form in league football, with the Reds still unbeaten after their opening nine games, with their latest success coming in the form of a 5-0 trouncing of bitter rivals Manchester United. On the other hand, Frankie McAvoy & co. are 19th in the Championship, winning just three of their 14 games so far.
Liverpool eked out a 2-0 win the last time they clashed with Preston North End, with Albert Riera and Fernando Torres scoring in a 2-0 win in the FA Cup third round back in 2009. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Preston North End
📺 Sepp van den Berg has been given permission to play against parent club Liverpool tomorrow night, and if selected, he is looking forward to the prospect of facing the Premier League side.
— Preston North End FC (@pnefc) October 26, 2021
Frankie McAvoy has greeted a mixed bag of updates on the team news front ahead of the visit of Liverpool. On Wednesday, the Preston North End manager will be bereft of the services of as many as four first-team players.
Alan Browne is the latest player sidelined after picking up a red card against Blackpool this past weekend. In addition, Ched Evans (foot), Connor Wickham (hamstring) and Isaiah Brown (Achilles tendon) all continue to remain unavailable for Preston.
However, in some good news, Ali McCann is available again after recovering from an ankle injury, while Matthew Olosunde could be in line to play for the first time this season after taking part in a practice game on the weekend.
Olosunde, though, is only likely to make an appearance off the bench in the second half, with Sepp van den Berg likely to start in his place in the right wing-back slot. Interestingly, van den Berg has been granted permission to play against his parent club and will be keen on making an impression.
Josh Earl is a certainty on the left flank, while in the three-man central defensive unit, Jordan Storey, Patrick Bauer, and Andrew Hughes are likely to get the nod. Declan Rudd will take his place in goal for Preston, who will line up in a 3-4-1-2 formation.
Up ahead in midfield, Ben Whiteman and Ryan Ledson will have the onus on them to keep a check on the output of players like Curtis Jones and Tyler Morton. The duo will also need to initiate swift transitions whenever the opportunities present themselves.
Daniel Johnson will provide the creative impetus higher up the pitch, playing off the two strikers – Emil Riis Jakobsen and Scott Sinclair. Jakobsen, in particular, has been in impeccable form so far in the Carabao Cup and will hope to continue his fine run on Wednesday.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Rudd; Storey, Bauer, Hughes; van den Berg, Whiteman, Ledson, Earl; Johnson; Jakobsen, Sinclair
Unlike his counterpart in the Preston North End dugout, Jurgen Klopp has been handed a few major concerns ahead of the trip to Deepdale. On Wednesday, the Liverpool manager will have to make do without six first-team players.
Harvey Elliott (ankle) and Thiago Alcantara (calf) were already on the sidelines. And Klopp’s woes in midfield have been exacerbated by the fact that James Milner sustained a hamstring injury and Naby Keita picked up a knock in the 5-0 win over Manchester United. Fabinho, too, will miss out as he continues his recovery from a minor knee injury.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 26, 2021
Klopp is also sweating over the fitness of Caoimhin Kelleher, who is recovering from an illness. If Kelleher is unable to become available in time, Adrian will come in as an emergency option between the sticks for Liverpool. The back four should have an entirely new look, with Joe Gomez and Nathaniel Phillips set to pair up at the heart of the Liverpool defence, with Neco Williams and Kostas Tsimikas being the two full-backs.
Up ahead in midfield, Klopp is barely left with recognised options, two of whom are Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones. And instead of adding to Jordan Henderson’s workload, the Liverpool boss could hand a start to Tyler Morton following his impressive display against Norwich City last month.
Finally, the attacking unit appears likely to miss out on the services of Kaide Gordon, who has been looking to shrug off a minor injury to make himself available. Instead, Sadio Mane will make a rare start in a cup tie, with Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino lining up alongside him in the final third.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Adrian; Neco Williams, Gomez, Phillips, Tsimikas; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Morton; Mane, Origi, Minamino
- Wednesday’s clash is the first meeting between Preston North End and Liverpool since January 2009, when the Reds won 2-0 at Deepdale in an FA Cup tie.
- Preston are looking to reach the League Cup quarter-final for the first time in their history. They have been eliminated from 14 of their last 17 League Cup ties against top-flight opponents, beating Birmingham in 2002/03, Watford in 2015/16 and Bournemouth in 2016/17.
- Liverpool have progressed from 16 of their last 17 League Cup ties against sides from a lower division, with the exception being a shootout defeat to Northampton Town in 2010/11.
- Preston have scored more goals than any other side in the League Cup this season (11). Emil Ris Jakobsen is their highest scorer in the competition this term (4), netting in all three rounds so far.
- Liverpool striker Divock Origi has been directly involved in 12 goals in his nine starts in the League Cup, scoring 10 and assisting two.
Player to Watch
The past year has not been a memorable period for Joe Gomez, who sustained a long-term injury that he has only come out of at the onset of the 2021/22 season. However, he has been unable to stake a claim for the first-choice centre-back berth alongside Virgil van Dijk, with Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate being preferred over him.
Therefore, the cup fixture against Preston North End provides Gomez with a chance to make an impression on Jurgen Klopp. And at a time when he is growing increasingly frustrated with his role at Liverpool, the Englishman will be raring to deliver the goods and give Klopp some food for thought.
Preston North End 0-3 Liverpool
This is a rather straightforward outing for Liverpool, even though they will be playing with a largely second-string side. However, the presence of Sadio Mane will likely make a meaningful difference on Wednesday, as Preston might not be able to contain the Senegalese forward. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-0 win for Jurgen Klopp & co.