Liverpool fans prepared themselves for a season with one game a week most weeks. There would be less football, but it would mean more time for the players to recover and an ability to focus on what mattered most—the league. So of course it’s only taken two rounds of Premier League action before a mid-week match comes along, this time in the English Football League Cup.
And given the way Saturday’s game against Burnley went, we could all certainly use the quick turnaround. On the weekend, Liverpool had 81% possession and 26 shots, but most were from distance against a Burnley side that sat deep and sought to frustrate. A Burnley side that had just three shots but scored on two of them to win the game 2-0. For Liverpool, it was 90 minutes of frustration.
Now Jürgen Klopp will be looking to bounce back against Championship side Burton Albion, a side that have spent most of their history far further down the pyramid than they currently stand and for whom Tuesday will mark the first time ever they’ve faced off against the Reds. Last season, the Brewers were in League One and earned promotion by finishing second.
Until 2009, in fact, Burton Albion had never played in the Football League comprising the Championship and League One and Two. And their promotion from Blue Square’s Conference North to League Two almost didn’t happen that season after league sponsor Blue Square made a show of paying out bets they would win promotion—in February while they were 19 points clear at the top of the table.
Following that, Burton Albion’s form cratered, and on the final day of the season they knew they needed a win to ensure promotion. Instead, they lost. But Cambridge United, their nearest rivals, could only manage a draw themselves and Burton Albion moved up into the Football League for the first time in their 66-year history. In 2014-15, they earned promotion to League One.
Just a year later, they earned their promotion to the Championship after Nigel Clough—the man who led them to that 19-point lead in Conference North before he was poached mid-season by Derby County and the Brewers fell apart—returned to the club. In the early going this season, they have a win, a draw, and two losses for four points from four games. They have scored nine goals and conceded nine.
Those numbers make them the second worst defensive side in the first month of the Championship’s 2016-17 season—and the best attacking side. On paper at least, they aren’t a side that will be able to do to Liverpool what Burnley just did to Liverpool. On paper, this is a good game for Liverpool to try to bounce back with.
Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno
Henderson, Can, Grujic
Lallana, Origi, Firmino
Changes are in order, but Liverpool will still look to take the game seriously. Word is that Joël Matip is fit and ready to make his competitive debut, but with Mamadou Sakho still sidelined one of Dejan Lovren or Ragnar Klavan will start. As Lovren and Matip are more likely to be seen as a long-term starting option, the same money is on them getting the chance to work together on Tuesday.
After impressing during pre-season, there is also a good chance that Trent Alexander-Arnold and Marko Grujic could make their way into the starting eleven with only two days’ rest following the last Liverpool match. Divock Origi, meanwhile, should be given a chance to find his form from the start of a game for the first time this year.
Kickoff is set for 7:45PM BST/2:45PM EST on Tuesday from Pirelli Stadium in Burton upon Trent. The game will be carried on Sky Sports 1 in the UK and beIN Sports in the United States. Full match listings can be found at LiveSoccerTV.
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