With barely enough time to catch our collective breath after that 9-goal stunner against Norwich City on Saturday, Liverpool are suiting up for another match. This time it's the second leg of the league cup semi-final against Stoke City. Liverpool are taking a 1-0 lead back to Anfield thanks to Jordon Ibe's goal in the 37th minute.
Tuesday's match may prove to be the most important game of the season. Liverpool haven't won any silverware since King Kenny led them to league cup victory back in 2012. That's four long years of drought, and the natives are beginning to get restless. Liverpool are still in the hunt for European glory in the Europa League, and though they took the hard way through the FA Cup third round, they're still in it, but yet the league cup remains their most realistic chance to pick up a trophy.
Considering the fact that new manager Jurgen Klopp began in October after Liverpool were already well and truly in the weeds, supporters have tempered their expectations until he's been given a full off-season and summer transfer window with which to work. Given that, if Klopp could lead Liverpool to victory in the first cup final to come his way as manager, that would go a long way towards salvaging this season. In fact, just making it past this hurdle, advancing to the final, and giving Liverpool fans another night at Wembley would do wonders for morale. And if results from the first round stand, it would be an all Merseyside final -- as Everton currently lead Manchester City by two goals to one -- and wouldn't that be something to see?
The first leg of the semi-final left Liverpool with more casualties than a Saw movie. In rapid succession, Philippe Coutinho, Dejan Lovren, and Kolo Toure were each felled, and Jordon Ibe made it through the game only to then be ruled out for the next two weeks. The squad has yet to fully recover, but there's just about eleven first team players fit and ready for Klopp to field a strong side in defense of their lead.
Since that game, Stoke have also advanced to the FA Cup fourth round, beating Doncaster Rovers 2-1. In the league, they only managed to put a measly three goals past Norwich (amateurs), played out a goalless draw with Arsenal, and most recently, fell to Leicester City at the Britannia.
Flanagan/ Toure/ Sakho/ Moreno
Henderson/ Lucas/ Can
Milner/ Firmino/ Lallana
Expect much the same starting XI from Saturday's match against Norwich bar an enforced switch at right back after news broke that Nathaniel Clyne picked up a knee injury in Saturday's win. Other than that, the only change most will expect is for Adam Lallana to be in from the start after his effective performance coming off of the bench and scoring the winner, with Jordon Ibe likely to make way for his fellow countryman.
It doesn't look like Lovren is ready just yet, so the Toure/Sakho center-back partnership goes again. Nobody, including Kolo himself, would have expected he'd be playing two games a week this season, but here we are. Steven Caulker is cup tied and therefore unavailable for either this match or, potentially, the final. There's a slim chance that Danny Ward gets a chance after Mignolet's shocking game at the weekend, but that seems unlikely.
Divock Origi, Philippe Coutinho, Martin Skrtel, and Jordan Rossiter remain sidelined and are expected out for several more weeks. Joe Gomez and Danny Ings remain out for the rest of the season with ACL injuries. Daniel Sturridge is in training again but isn't expected to be fit to play until February at the earliest.
Kickoff is set for 7:45PM BST/2:45PM EST Tuesday. Television coverage will be on Sky Sports 1/HD UK in the UK and BeIN Sports USA in America. Elsewhere BeIN Sports Canada in Canada, and SuperSport 3 Africa in Kenya are carrying the match. You can find other listings at LiveSoccerTV. For Online radio, fans worldwide can check out LFCTV GO.
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.