LIVERPOOL VS. ARSENAL
| Thursday, October 1st |
Carabao Cup | Anfield
7:45PM BST/2:45PM EST
A week after brushing aside lower league Lincoln City in the fifth round of the League, aka Carabao, Cup and just days after beating Arsenal convincingly in Premier League action, the Reds take on the Gunners in the fourth round of England’s second domestic cup competition on Thursday night from an empty Anfield.
Both sides are expected to run out heavily changed, and perhaps even entirely changed, sides for the cup, with Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp and Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta both looking ahead to a highly congested campaign including league, domestic cup, and European commitments and knowing rotation will be key.
Whoever starts for Arsenal, though, the bigger question may be over their approach. Arteta is looking to build a side that is comfortable playing out from the back, that can draw a high press side like Liverpool up the pitch and then beat that press, springing the break against what would then be an isolated backline.
In Monday’s league game, though, his dogmatic approach—as well as an insistence on playing three at the back against Liverpool’s attacking trio and deadly fullbacks, something that has rarely worked for opponents—proved Arsenal’s undoing and only helped a well-drilled Liverpool to comprehensively dominate them.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Adrian; Williams, Koumetio, Van Dijk, Robertson; Jones, Grujic, Milner; Shaqiri, Minamino, Jota
The only thing likely preventing a fully changed side for the Reds are injuries, with Kostas Tsimikas today ruled out at left back due to a thigh issue and centre half Joël Matip still sidelined. Meanwhile, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remain out through injury while Thiago Alcantara is self-isolating due to a positive coronavirus test.
Matip’s injury means one of Virgil van Dijk or Joe Gomez likely starts alongside youngster Billy Koumetio—and it’s possible each will play a half, as when Van Dijk and Fabinho split minutes against Lincoln. Meanwhile, the absences in midfield along with Tsimikas being out likely means a start for Andy Robertson with James Milner needed in the middle.
Some excitement will come in the front ranks, with another start expected for Curtis Jones as Liverpool’s most progressive midfielder and a fully changed front three giving Xherdan Shaqiri, Takumi Minamino, and new signing Diogo Jota a chance to start and star.
What the Managers Had to Say
Pepijn Lijnders: “They will try to improve, of course, the same as what we will do. The main thing is the recovery process—if you have only two days in between games, how you make sure the players are ready to play again our way and impose our game.”
Referee: Kevin Friend Assistants: Adrian Holmes and Simon Beck Fourth official: Paul Tierney
Kickoff is set for 7:45PM BST/2:45PM EST tomorrow, and full television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, 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 the action as it happens.