Liverpool advanced to the next round of the FA Cup on Sunday, topping Shrewsbury 4-1. Now the Reds will host Arsenal in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semifinal, looking to make the final for the first time since 2016.
Outside of the players who are at AFCON and a few injuries, Liverpool should have a strong contingent of players to choose from for the game.
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Liverpool have a choice to make at the goalkeeping position. Alisson returned to training Tuesday after a bout with Covid. He hasn’t played since Liverpool’s loss to Leicester on Dec. 28.
At the same time, the domestic cups have been Caoimhin Kelleher’s chance all season, and he is the reason the Reds are even in the semifinals.
Based on past history, Jurgen Klopp is likely to give Kelleher the start, and give Alisson a couple more days of training prior to this weekend’s PL match.
Liverpool also has its full array of defenders available. Trent Alexander-Arnold returned to training after testing positive for Covid last week. Andy Robertson suffered a knock late in the match with Shrewsbury, but it isn’t deemed to be serious.
Still, it seems unlikely either one plays on Thursday. After starting on the bench in the FA Cup, Kostas Tsimikas could get the start at left back.
After missing so much training time, it’s hard to see Alexander-Arnold jumping right back in the mix and playing 90 minutes. Neco Williams wasn’t involved in the FA Cup match, but if he is available, he could be the option Thursday.
Joe Gomez hasn’t seen much game action recently, and Thursday could provide that opportunity. Ibrahima Konate or Joel Matip are his more likely partner, but if Jurgen Klopp really wants to go for it, Virgil van Dijk is an option.
Liverpool should go fairly strong in their midfield. Fabinho and Jordan Henderson may start in the midfield. The question is who starts with them on the left-side of the midfield.
Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are both options to start in the midfield. Jones may be preferred here, but Oxlade-Chamberlain will have a role in this match.
Liverpool is obviously without their best two attackers with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane both gone at AFCON. Because of their absence and the importance of Diogo Jota with them gone, it’s hard to see him playing a big role in the Carabao Cup. Takumi Minamino in the line-up is expected.
He has been a key force for Liverpool in this tournament.
Roberto Firmino is also working his way back from injury and Covid, and could get a start on Thursday. If Liverpool doesn’t go young with someone like Kaide Gordon, then Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could get the opportunity up top instead of in the midfield.
Predicted Liverpool Line-up (4-3-3): Caoimhin Kelleher, Kostas Tsimikas, Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate, Neco Williams, Curtis Jones, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Takumi Minamino, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
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