Ahead of a fixture, it's usually the opposition manager who spends a bit of time sharing his thoughts on the team his players will be facing. Maybe he talks about their key threats, maybe he talks tactics, but regardless of the direction his pre-match mind games take, they at least come from someone who will be directly involved in the match.
This wasn't the case on Saturday when Cardiff took on Bournemouth — who just happen to be Liverpool's next opponents when they meet in the League Cup on Wednesday evening — in Championship action. After losing 5-3 to the deliciously nicknamed Cherries, Cardiff's manager Russell Slade issued an unsolicited warning to the Merseyside club not to take Bournemouth too lightly.
"Liverpool will have to be on top of their game because these boys play with a real freedom," Slade said. "Bournemouth are as good as anybody I've seen in the league going forward. They play with no fear."
While this might easily be slotted away in the Who Asked You files, his point isn't without merit. Premier League clubs have often played fast and loose with early round domestic cup ties, often resulting in complacency and cockiness that ends with a loss after not taking a lower league club seriously enough. Liverpool only got past another Championship club, Middlesbrough, after winning the world's most hilarious shoot out, and with Bournemouth going top of the league with their most recent win, it could be a juicy challenge for the Championship side to get a win over a club they'd face next season if promoted.
It's anybody's guess as to what Brendan Rodgers might have up his sleeve for Wednesday, but his recent line-up experiments will certainly make it tough to tell whether or not his chosen side represents a team selected to advance to the next round of League Cup or a team designed to give others a rest ahead of next weekend's clash against Arsenal.