When Liverpool take on Norwich City in the third round of the League Cup on Tuesday evening at Carrow Road, it is expected to be a heavily rotated squad sent out to face the Canaries by the Reds and assistant manager Pepjin Lijnders.
That rotation, though, won’t include a handful of first team players who weren’t available for Saturday’s league game against Crystal Palace, with none of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Roberto Firmino, and Neco Williams ready to play.
“Let’s start with Trent,” said Lijnders, who for the third season now is handling preparations and press duties in place of Jürgen Klopp for the League Cup. “These guys want to play everything, [even] if they feel ill, but he took responsibility.
“That’s Trent, there are no symptoms—no COVID symptoms—but Norwich comes too early. Then we have Bobby, who will do parts of team training but also not ready. And Neco is progressing but tomorrow also comes too early.”
Of the three, it’s right back understudy Neco Williams who seems certain to have started had he been fit, with the league cup likely the 20-year-old Welshman’s best chance at starting minutes and a chance to impress the coaches.
Less likely to have been involved is Thiago Alcantara, who did start on the weekend but came off in the second half against Palace with a calf injury, and while his injury timeline isn’t yet clear, what is clear is that he won’t play this week.
“It was a calf injury,” Lijnders said of Thiago. “I can’t say now how long it will take but definitely not tomorrow and not at the weekend. A shame as well because he was taking the game by the hand, he was a proper playmaker.”
Meanwhile, one player who is certain to start is second choice goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, with Lijnders confirming that the 22-year-old Ireland international will as expected get the nod again ahead of Alisson in the League Cup.