Liverpool lead their Champions League group with a perfect nine points, knowing one more win in Europe will guarantee advancement to the knockout rounds. In England, fans are still buzzing over a 5-0 demolition of historic rivals Manchester United.
Now, attention turns to the League Cup. And to many of the club’s fringe first team and youth players, expected to take over for their more established counterparts when the Reds face Preston North End on Wednesday evening in the Round of 16.
“From what the lads have been doing, especially in the last few weeks, we just want to carry on that form,” said young backup right back Neco Williams, expected to get the start against Preston while starter Trent Alexander-Arnold is given a night off.
“It’s not often they get to play [a side like] Liverpool so we know that they’re going to give everything. They’re going to come at us with 100%. We need to be switched on. We need to play our football and hopefully if that comes together we’ll get the win.”
Preston have gotten off to a slow start in the Championship this season and currently sit 19th but six point clear of the relegation places. They defeated League One side Cheltenham Town 4-1 in the last round of England’s second cup competition.
The chance to take on Premier League opposition is only likely to come once or maybe twice a year for them, and so they’ll be looking for a magical upset on Wednesday—but Liverpool’s young players too will be determined to show their best.
“To win the League Cup will be special because all the youngsters have been playing in it,” Williams added of its importance for those who perhaps won’t get many league and European minutes and are counting on deep cup runs for a chance to play.
“I always these type of games because you don’t know who you’re going to come up against—it could be anyone from the Premier League, Championship, or even lower. It’s going to be a tough game but hopefully we can get the win.”