Liverpool begins their defense of the Carabao Cup Wednesday as they host League One Side Derby County at Anfield. Like last season, assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders led the squad for most of the Carabao Cup matches, so it is unclear whether this fixture will count toward Jürgen Klopp's red card suspension.
A Lineup Shakeup
Normally, supporters have to wait until just a few hours before kickoff to know the lineup for a match. Lijnders has already confirmed, at least one big change well in advance of the fixture. Caoimhin Kelleher will get the start between the pipes to give Alisson Becker a well-deserved break. Kelleher won last season's final versus Chelsea in a penalty shootout.
“Yeah, Caoimh deserves it. If you shoot the bench players in this match, Liverpool should have enough last penalty in [in the final], it would be a disgrace if we took him out now!”, Lijnders said. “I think, honestly, one of my proudest moments in football was after the game when we won this cup.”
Scouting The Saints
The Derby County Saints are one of the oldest clubs in England and even though they now compete in League One, they competed in the EPL as recently as 2007. The last meeting between the two clips came in the League Cup, a 3-0 Liverpool win. This season, the Saints sit mid-table in League One. They have played better of late, however as they have 2 wins and a pair of draws in their last 5 matches. Derby County does struggle to find the back of the net as they have only scored 16 goals in 16 matches so far this season, but they are a tough-minded defensive side. As a result, the Saints can not be taken lightly.
Several Reds are close to returning to the pitch including James Milner, Joel Matip and Naby Keïta. But supporters should not expect to see them in this fixture. Lijnders has indicated that perennial substitutes could see heavy minutes so there is no need to rush injured players back just before the World Cup break.
LFC Globe Verdict
No game of football is easy and no opponent should ever be taken lightly. However, even playing bench blazers, Liverpool should have plenty of firepowers to overcome a Derby County side that only averages one goal per match. It will be interesting to see Pepijn Lijnders' style, but it should not affect the outcome that much.
PREDICTION: Liverpool 4 Derby County 0