Liverpool are set to play their second of four consecutive home matches against League Two side Carlisle United on Wednesday evening for the third round of the Capital One Cup. The first of these home fixtures came on Sunday when Liverpool only managed a draw against newly-promoted Norwich City in the league. It feels a bit like copy-and-pasting from my previous previews, but the facts remain the same: disappointing results so far this season have put Brendan Rodgers and the team under incredible pressure. Against League Two opposition, nothing short of a comfortable victory would appease fans.
Oh sorry, let me go back and clarify for any newcomers.
See, a 'victory' is the term given for the result when your team -- instead of scoring less or the same amount of goals as its opponent -- somehow manages to score more. This is the lesser-known third option in football matches, and one which Liverpool has opted against for over a month now. If you're a Liverpool fan new to the sport, it would be entirely reasonable for you not to have realized this outcome was even a possibility.
More seriously, we should expect to see a Liverpool side with plenty of changes from the weekend, but any eleven players that the manager puts out should be able to find a way to beat a, and no disrespect to Carlisle here, a clearly weaker opponent.
Aside from when they lifted the trophy in 2012, Liverpool have had difficulty in this competition over the past few years. Most notably, Roy Hodgon's side fell to League Two side Northampton Town in 2010, also in the third round. Last season, they were forced into penalties against Middlesborough and extra time against Notts County. This will be the ninth meeting between the Liverpool and Carlisle, and Liverpool have yet to concede a goal against them. Odds on that particular record still standing after Wednesday's fixture?
Looking to end Carlisle's jinx will be current top scorer, Jabo Ibehre, and Derek Asamoah and Jason Kennedy, the goalscorers in Carlisle's shock win over QPR that propelled them into the third round.
Expected for Liverpool:
Gomez, Lovren, Can
Ibe, Rossiter, Chirivella, Lallana
Newly reinstated center back Mamadou Sakho is unlikely to feature due to the need for his fitness to be managed. It would be irresponsible to make him play three times in a week. While changes are likely, after moving to it for the past two games the expectation will be three in the back again. Up top, Daniel Sturridge will get another 60-70 minutes under his belt on his path to full fitness.
While the Capital One Cup is never anyone's number one priority, right now winning is crucial to stop the rot of this season and begin to gain some confidence. These next three games are vitally important to Liverpool's season and also to Brendan Rodgers' career.
Kickoff is set for 8:00PM BST/3:00PM EST, with coverage from BeIn Sports Connect in the UK. We'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on all the action as it happens.