For Liverpool, the clear priorities this season—as they were last season and the year before—are the Premier League and Champions League. However, that doesn’t mean that the club aren’t interested in the domestic cup competitions.
Far from it, in fact, now that the Reds have an enviable level of quality and depth at almost every position, giving them a chance to send out a fully rotated side that wouldn’t look entirely out of place competing in the league or Europe.
“It’s about managing the situation, the circumstances and the squad,” said Jürgen Klopp ahead of tonight’s fourth round Carabao Cup tie against Arsenal. “I have over 20 players for each match who, in my opinion, are good enough to play.
“The rules mean I can only pick 11 to start each time. It is likely we will make changes this evening but I hate that this is perceived that certain games matter more than others. This game tonight matters—we want to win it with all we have.”
In the past, it would be hard to argue Liverpool really wanted to win the Carabao Cup when running out an entirely—or almost entirely—changed side. Now, though, while it might not be the ultimate priority, it can still be a legitimate priority.
An attacking trio of Diogo Jota, Takumi Minamino, and Xherdan Shaqiri could start for a lot of sides pushing to finish in the top half in the league. The same is true of midfielders like James Milner and Curtis Jones, both likely to start tonight.
This is a Liverpool side that can compete as one of the favourites to win both the Premier League and Champions League while still having a legitimate shot at silverware in both the Carabao Cup and then in the new year the FA Cup.
“We are fortunate to have players who can come in and our quality and approach not change,” Klopp added. “We will try and give everything. Can we promise success? No, but we can try. We can pick the best side for this fixture.
“We can prepare like we do for every game—and then we go and attack the contest with the same intensity we have done every match so far this season.”