Liverpool welcome Notts County to Anfield to do battle over the Capital One Cup, a trophy we won two years ago under the Great King Kenny. Liverpool should have too much for the League 1 club, but it is not as simple as comparing our first team with their first team. Not with the small matter of United coming around the corner. I believe we should therefore rest many of our first team players.
Now, I may be accused of taking the Capital One cup lightly, which is not the case. As far as I am concerned, silverware is silverware. A trophy in the cupboard is of utmost importance, BUT, if we cannot beat a League one team, who are without a win this season with our squad players, then our overall squad is not good enough. It is as simple as that. This is a chance for players who are floating around the periphery of the first team to challenge for one of the places in the starting eleven. To my horror, Liverpool have reserved our worst performances for these cup matches. We have looked listless and uninterested. Perhaps it was the state of some of the pitches we played on. But we should have none of these problems on Tuesday as we are playing at Anfield.
So how do we beat them?
A trip to Anfield will get any footballer’s blood pumping. I mean, ‘THIS IS LIVERPOOL’. Notts County will probably start like a team possessed. They will chase every ball, dive into every tackle and kick everything that moves. They will be burning with the desire to cause one of the biggest upsets in Football history. We cannot allow that. Our players need to be able to match Notts County in the ‘desire to win’ department and our extra quality, should see us through this game.
This would be my starting line-up, formation and strategy.
Mignolet, Kelly, Wisdom, Skrtel, Cissokho, Allen, Luis Alberto, Aspas, Ibe, Borini, Assaidi
Mignolet has been playing well in the Liverpool shirt and I would like him to get as many clean sheets behind his name as possible. Joe Allen will anchor the midfield. I was very impressed with Allen’s pre-season performance and every time I’ve seen him come on, he has looked good. This will the chance for him (and Skrtel) to remind Brendan Rodgers why they should be starting. This is also a great opportunity for Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas to introduce themselves to the Reds fans properly. A weaker team should be exactly what is needed to get their confidence up and to get that rush of hitting the back of the net. Especially for Aspas. Cissokho looked a little over eager against Aston Villa and made a few elementary mistakes, but that is forgivable. A good run out for him against Notts County should give his confidence a world of good. The same can be said about Borini. Rodgers has a lot of faith in the young Italian and if he sees potential in him, he must play him as often as possible in order to get that diamond out of the coal. But, I am very eager to see Jordan Ibe play. He is skilful and physically strong. Potentially, a real star for Liverpool’s future so we need to also give him as much playing time as possible. I would also like to see Sterling have about 30 minutes as well in the match. Probably to come on for Assaidi who should either be playing for his Reds future, or playing to market himself to another club.