Liverpool will be aiming to get back to winning ways and progress to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup when they play hosts to Leicester City this midweek.
The last two quarter-final ties of the 2021/22 Carabao Cup will be played out on Wednesday night, with both encounters being all-Premier League affairs. Brentford will be facing Chelsea at home in a London derby in one of the clashes, while the other game will see Brendan Rodgers pit his Leicester City side against the mighty Liverpool at Anfield.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has largely opted to utilise fringe players and youngsters in the competition, but they have been good enough to carry the team to the Last-eight stage, after seeing off challenges from Norwich City (3-0) and Preston North End (2-0). Having seen their eight-game winning streak come to an end against Tottenham last weekend, the Reds will be raring to get back on track with a victory on Wednesday.
As for Leicester, they beat Millwall 2-0 in the third round but were pushed to the brink by Brighton in the Round of 16, but they managed to eke out a penalty shootout victory. The Foxes have been very inconsistent in this season but won their last game 4-0 against Newcastle United, after which point they had two of their games cancelled due to the Covid outbreak in the league. Facing a charged Liverpool side at Anfield could spell trouble for Brendan Rodgers & co.
The two teams are yet to play each other this season, but the last time Leicester travelled to Anfield in November last year, they were handed a 3-0 drubbing by Liverpool. Ahead of their latest meeting in this crucial knockout fixture, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 21, 2021
Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Thiago Alcantara remain sidelined after returning positive Covid tests, while Divock Origi is still not fit enough to make a return. Captain Jordan Henderson is back after missing the last game due to an illness but is unlikely to be risked from the start on Wednesday. Harvey Elliott remains a long-term absentee.
Jurgen Klopp is expected to ring in the changes for the game and give his regulars a break amidst a packed festive schedule. Caoimhin Kelleher will get a run-out in goal for the home team while Joe Gomez should also be handed a rare start at the heart of the defence, partnering Ibrahima Konate with Joel Matip likely to be given a rest. Neco Williams and Kostas Tsimikas will line up as the full-backs.
Tyler Morton, who had a difficult game against Tottenham over the weekend, should get another opportunity at the base of the Liverpool midfield against Leicester. The onus will be on him to cut out any threat the visitors’ midfield runners pose. He will likely have support from veteran midfielder James Milner while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could return to the side in place of Naby Keita.
Up ahead in attack, there are likely to be wholesale changes as the trio of Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota, and Mohamed Salah is likely to be rested. In their place, Takumi Minamino, Roberto Firmino and youngster Kaide Gordon are likely to get the nod on Wednesday night.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Kelleher; Williams, Gomez, Konate, Tsimikas; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Morton, Milner; Gordon, Firmino, Minamino
Leicester City will be playing their first game in ten days after having a couple of clashes cancelled due to Covid issues, with the Foxes themselves having a few players test positive, leading to their training centre shutting down for a couple of days. James Justin and Wesley Fofana are out with injuries, while Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans are major doubts for the contest.
In addition to that, Daniel Amartey is set to miss out as well, after he was called up for the Ghanaian national team’s training camp ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations. The likes of Filip Benkovic, Jannik Vestergaard, Vontae Daley-Campbell, Ayoze Perez, Ademola Lookman and Hamza Choudhury are all doubts due to Covid-related issues.
Rodgers will likely make a few changes, starting from goal where ex-Liverpool star Danny Ward is expected to replace Kasper Schmeichel. Wilfred Ndidi should start in central defence amidst an injury crisis and could be partnered with Ryan Bertrand, who will line up as a makeshift centre-back. Timothy Castagne and Luke Thomas ought to line up as the full-backs on the right and left sides, respectively.
Youri Tielemans and Boubakary Soumare pick themselves in the middle of the park, with the former providing the forward thrust and creativity, while the latter offers defensive security. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall should line up in the No. 10 role, where he will likely be flanked by Marc Albrighton and Harvey Barnes. Patson Daka will be the man leading the line for the visitors.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ward; Castagne, Ndidi, Bertrand, Thomas; Tielemans, Soumare; Albrighton, Dewsbury-Hall, Barnes; Daka
- This will be the third League Cup meeting between Liverpool and Leicester City. Both the teams have picked up one win each in the past.
- Leicester City are winless in their last ten away games against Liverpool in all competitions (D2 L8).
- Liverpool are hoping to reach the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup for the first time since 2016/17.
- Since lifting the trophy in 2000, Leicester have reached the EFL Cup semi-finals in just one of the last 21 campaigns, doing so in the 2019/20 season.
- Liverpool star Takumi Minamino has scored five goals in his four appearances in the Carabao Cup.
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𝑺𝒊 𝑺𝒆ñ𝒐𝒓 🇧🇷
Bobby Firmino is averaging a goal or assist every 64 minutes for Liverpool this season 😁 pic.twitter.com/sy6IYxohjv
— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) December 17, 2021
From being an undisputed starter in attack, the Brazilian has found himself behind Diogo Jota in the pecking order in the ongoing campaign. The Portuguese international has stepped up brilliantly this season, already netting 11 goals in all competitions. So, the onus is on Firmino to up his game and force his way back into the side.
The 30-year-old had scored six goals in 13 games across all competitions before picking up a hamstring injury. Firmino will be looking to add to that tally and lead Liverpool to a victory on Wednesday, especially with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah unlikely to be involved.
Liverpool 2-1 Leicester City
Both Leicester City and Liverpool are likely to be missing a few key players for the game at Anfield. And with Jurgen Klopp set to rotate his troops heavily, the Foxes will fancy putting up a strong fight. More so, considering that they are playing after an extended break while their hosts will be dealing with some tiredness after their exertions against Tottenham.
However, Leicester City’s weakened backline could leave a lot of holes that the Reds can exploit even without their first-choice attacking unit. It is likely to be a close encounter, but Liverpool can call on the big guns from the bench if need be, which could swing the result in their favour.