Fulham vs Liverpool
| Wednesday, January 24th |
Carabao Cup | Craven Cottage
8PM BST / 3PM EST
League leaders Liverpool need only to avoid a loss at Fulham tomorrow night to ensure they’ll be featuring in the final against Chelsea at Wembley on February 25th. Great sentence, no notes, the Reds are really good, probably better than you thought ahead of the season.
In the two weeks since the teams met at Anfield, Fulham have only played one match, losing 1-0 to fellow League Cup semi-finalists Chelsea. As such, it’s difficult to say much about their recent form, but Marco Silva will again have to make due without African Cup of Nations participants Calvin Bassey, Fodé Ballo-Touré and Alex Iwobi.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Kelleher; Bradley, Konaté, van Dijk, Gomez; Mac Allister, Jones, Gravenberch; Jota, Darwin, Gakpo
For the Reds, coming off a solid 4-0 triumph over in-form Bournemouth, there are some injury issues to contend with, but the list of absentees is getting shorter by the day. Andrew Robertson is back in contention following his shoulder surgery back in November, but might not be likely to start and with Kostas Tsimikas still missing through collar bone troubles, another Joe Gomez masterclass at left-back might be plausible.
Caoimhín Kelleher will return in goal, while Conor Bradley’s winter internship at right-back continues. Two of Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konaté and Jarell Quansah will anchor the defense.
In midfield, Dominik Szoboszlai, Stefan Bajcetic and Thiago remain sidelined, while Wataru Endō’s participation at the AFC Asian Cup means Alexis Mac Allister, Curtis Jones and Ryan Gravenberch are probable to get the start. Harvey Elliott could also feature in place of either of the latter two.
Up top, a combination of AfCoN and injury keeps Mohamed Salah out of action, although the Egyptian is continuing his rehabilitation in Liverpool until fit or his country are knocked out of the tournament, whichever comes first. Thus, two of Luis Díaz, Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo will provide support either side Darwin Núñez.
What the Managers Said
Pep Lijnders: “I said before that playing finals is one of the most important things for a team to develop. Winning them! Playing a semi-final in January is great in the season [and] being able to reach Wembley, one of the most iconic stadiums in the world, is unbelievable. All of these things have an impact on development.”
Marco Silva: “Liverpool are always a threat. If there is space to attack, they can punish any team in the world. The winter break was a moment for the players to switch off and come back fresh again, not just for this game but with the right mindset to fight in all competitions until the end of the season.”
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistant referees: Adrian Holmes, Simon Long
Fourth official: Tony Harrington
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM 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.