Date: 24th September 2018 at 10:41am
Written by:

OPINION

Liverpool face the first of two matches against Chelsea in their third round Carabao Cup meeting on Wednesday evening, and Jurgen Klopp must rotate while maintaining regulars in the spine of his team.

The Reds face Chelsea at Anfield in the cup before heading to Stamford Bridge on Saturday for an all-important Premier League clash, with Klopp’s side the only team still with their 100% record in tact.

Chelsea dropped their first points of the season on Sunday against West Ham and will no doubt be looking to bounce back with a winning performance in the Carabao Cup.

Klopp will no doubt be thinking about ringing in the changes for this one with focus on the league and Europe, and that is totally valid, but he should also try and keep some continuity with the League Cup offering the chance of some silverware.

For all his success at Anfield over the past three seasons or so, Klopp is still yet to win a trophy, and you cannot underestimate the power that first triumph has on future success, even it is just the Carabao Cup.

In goal, Simon Mignolet should be handed a rare chance for Alisson.

In defence, first-choice wing-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson must be rested for Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno, with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip at centre-back. Virgil van Dijk must be dropped amid worries over a rib injury which forced him off against Southampton.

Midfield is an area of real strength for the Reds, with Klopp having a wealth of quality options to choose from, and he must opt with a trio of summer signing Fabinho, who will be handed his full debut, Naby Keita and Gini Wijnaldum, who provides that continuity needed. Jordan Henderson drops to the bench after starting against the Saints.

In attack, Xherdan Shaqiri must be deployed on the wing after his brilliant display centrally against Southampton, with Sadio Mane on the other flank amid his scintillating form, while £120,000-a-week striker Daniel Sturridge [Total Sportek] must be handed a rare start up top.

All in all this means seven changes for Klopp, with four retained from the win over the Saints, and importantly there are four players down the spine of the side who have played regular football this season.

This is a side which should run through Chelsea at Anfield, with Maurizio Sarri likely to rotate his side having dropped points at the weekend.