Preston North End vs Liverpool
| Wednesday, October 27th |
Carabao Cup | Deepdale
7:45PM BST / 2:45PM EST
In a brief relief from the punishing programme of high-stakes matchups, Liverpool travel north to take on Preston, facing a non-Premier League side in a domestic cup for a change.
Things have not been going swimmingly for under-pressure manager Franki McAvoy this season, and the Lilywhites sit 19th in the Championship, as many points out of relegation as they are from potential promotion, but with a goal difference that suggests the former is a more pressing concern.
The Lancashire side have struggled in front of goal this season, with Danish striker Emil Riis the only player in the team to have scored more than three goals, and Reds loanee defender Sepp van den Berg has become one of their most effective attacking pieces.
A 2-0 loss at Blackpool on Saturday gives Preston as opposite a recent experience to Liverpool as one can imagine, but a five-man backline and a big occasion could still be enough to cause some trouble for what will undoubtedly be a young Reds team.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Kelleher; Bradley, Gomez, Phillips, Tsimikas; Morton, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Mané, Minamino, Origi
Uncertainty about the line-up is expected whenever the Reds play in the early stages of a domestic cup, but given the numerous short-term fitness troubles the squad is dealing with, this fixture portends to generate even more of it.
Caoimhin Kelleher will be a match-day decision, and could be replaced by Adrián should he fail a late fitness test. Conor Bradley is sure to reprise what was an eventful debut last time round, while playing time for Joe Gomez and Nat Phillips appears all but assured. Another appearance for Kostas Tsimikas at left-back is expected.
In midfield, James Milner, Naby Keïta, Thiago and Fabinho will all be spared, with the latter hopefully ready by the weekend, and the rest being considered day-by-day. Tyler Morton should be allowed to build on an impressive debut at the base of midfield, and could be supported by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones for a rare all-English midfield.
Up top, the game comes too soon for Kaide Gordon, but Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi will undoubtedly hope to continue their rich scoring tradition in the competition. Whether Sadio Mané, who only played 15 minutes at the weekend, gets to take his frustrations out at Championship opposition remains to be seen, but with no further academy attackers currently knocking on the door, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
What the Managers Said
Pep Lijnders: “We have to prepare the team and the players who are going to play against Preston with big respect. And what I like about us is that we don’t prepare differently if we go away to Preston or we go away to Man United and you see that in the mentality of our players and you see that in the hunger in the sessions.”
Frankie McAvoy: “Nobody’s probably giving us any hope at all for us to get anything out of the game, but you never know what can happen. It’s a cup competition and we’ll go and we’ll give our utmost.”
Referee: David Coote
Assistant referees: Nick Hopton, Wade Smith
Fourth official: John Brooks
Kickoff is set for 7:45M GMT/2:45PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, 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.