Liverpool vs Leicester
| Wednesday, December 22nd |
Carabao Cup | Anfield
7:45PM BST / 2:45PM EST
In the middle of what feels like pure denial and a mere preamble to the inevitable postponement of all sports — again — Liverpool, two-thirds of the way through their merciless end-of-year schedule, face Leicester in the most meaningless competition on their calendar.
It’s been a steady decline for the Foxes since looking like they had leveraged their shock league title of 2016 into consistent top four challenger status just a year ago, to now being decidedly mid-table, as many points away from the Champions League as they are from relegation, with a net zero goal difference.
Brendan Rodgers will be looking at the Carabao Cup as a chance to make this season worthwhile and are likely to be fielding a strong team tomorrow, which means an XI featuring the likes of Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans is entirely plausible.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Kelleher; Williams, Gomez, Konaté, Tsimikas; Morton, Milner, Jones; Minamino, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Origi
Not so for the Reds, who, in all likelihood will make as many changes as they feel they must to keep their starters fresh. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah in particular looked leggy at the weekend and will be nowhere near this fixture, but other regulars are likely to sit it out entirely as well.
Neco Williams has a good shot at another start at right-back, while Andy Robertson’s suspension means Kostas Tsimikas is guaranteed another start. Joe Gomez needs minutes to find match sharpness again, although who his partner might be is difficult to say.
In midfield, Tyler Morton is likely to start again, while James Milner, Curtis Jones and Naby Keïta are all options alongside him.
Up top, Roberto Firmino might get some minutes to get back up to speed, but the rest of the frontline will be made up by some combination of Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
That is, of course, assuming the Omicron variant hasn’t whittled either squad down to 12 or fewer players by the time kick-off comes around. Anything can happen when money is on the line and health and safety are considered perfectly disposable. Good times!
What the Managers Said
Pep Lijnders: “We want to attack matchday. We will focus on ourselves; we know in these intense periods we need the whole squad. We know that’s something we want – we want to be in these intense periods, we want to play these games and we really look forward to it.”
Brenny Rodge: *probably something about ‘outstanding’*
Referee: Andrew Madley
Assistant referees: Adrian Holmes, Edward Smart
Fourth official: Martin Atkinson
Kickoff is set for 7:45PM 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.