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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

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League Cup round four: Liverpool vs Arsenal

On Monday night Liverpool played Arsenal at Anfield. On Thursday, the same thing will happen. And no, you are not going mad. 

Liverpool supporters and Jurgen Klopp will be more than pleased with a similar performance and outcome as the Monday night Premier League game as it was a sensational all-round display. 

Pundits, fans and even footballers had predicted Liverpool to fall off or not have the motivation to perform like they did throughout the past two seasons. The squad have made them look stupid and backtrack three league games into the season. 

Even the players who have not been playing in the Premier League proved their critics and any critics about Liverpool’s squad depth wrong with a fantastic display in the previous round of this competition albeit against Lincoln City. 

Now they will have a chance against a much stronger opposition. 

This game in the same competition last season produced one of the greatest football games many have watched. It was end-to-end fun and fantastic viewing entertainment which ended up with local lad Curtis Jones becoming the hero scoring the winning penalty in the shootout. 

Fans making Anfield a force to be reckoned with even when the young side looked down and out.  

That will not be the case this time and it is a huge shame. 

But they will all be wanting to prove themselves. The youngsters, the players on the periphery of the starting eleven and also a couple of the oldies. 

James Milner will have Klopp’s trust until the day he leaves but he will always look forward to the challenge and the likelihood is that the vice-captain will start at left back with Kostas Tsimikas being ruled out.  

Adrian will also be looking to prove his critics wrong and should be handed a start as he started the last round against Lincoln City. 

There will, as always in the League cup under Klopp, be a lot of youngsters playing and they certainly seem to be up to the task. 

Neco Williams and Curtis Jones both started the last game in the League Cup, and it would be a surprise to not see them involved again. Jones received the man of the match award last time out whilst Neco Williams received some bizarre criticism. 

Pep Lijnders done the pre-match press conference for the game and said: “For all young players, it’s a weakness if you get caught up in praise and criticism. He dealt with it well.”  

So, it would seem that Williams has the mental strength to deal with it. 

Lijnders was also full of praise for Curtis Jones in the press conference saying: “He’s the type we really like. So much bravery, courage, self-confidence, but with a constant focus to learn.” 

The Toxteth born midfielder looks set to have a massive future at the club and there is nothing better than a scouser excelling for the team in red so he will be relishing the chance to start yet another match. 

Other youngsters Rhys Williams and Billy Koumetio will be hoping they get starts. Williams started against Lincoln City instead of Sepp Van Den Berg so we will have to wait and see whether that happens again.  

Unfortunately, though the game may come too early for Koumetio. He is still regaining his fitness as he played 60 minutes for the under 18’s however Lijnders was vague in the press conference and said “let’s see” whether he will play or not. 

Minamino is expected to start and again put in a splendid performance. The Japanese international has started the season in fine form and according to Lijnders his development has been “really great.” 

He has been playing in the false nine role and it could be a few players playing either side of him due to Klopp having a wealth of options. 

It could be Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri, Diogo Jota, Harvey Elliot or even Rhian Brewster who was pictured in training. 

Whoever starts as a front three it is sure to be a massive threat for the Arsenal defence. The Gunners will be making changes but whether it will be as many as Liverpool remains to be seen. 

It is a classic fixture. Let’s hope it can produce another crazy 5-5 for our viewing pleasure. 

Written by Elliot Thompson

READ MORE: JOINT STATEMENT: from the Metro Mayor, City Mayor and Council Leaders of the Liverpool City Region on potential new Covid-19 restrictions

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