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Liverpool head back to The Hawthorns in the League Cup
And who doesn't enjoy another trip to the Hawthorns? Oh right, everybody.
With injuries and suspensions looming and whatever else, today's lineup should look almost exactly like the one against Young Boys in the Europa League. Brad Jones in for Reina. A backline of Wisdom-Carragher-Coates-Enrique. Though with either of Carra or Coates going to be needed at the weekend, they could be rested for a Danny WIlson or Sama. Or maybe some other kid barely out of kindergarten. At this point, I don't even know all the possibilities. Enrique needs the fitness, because he can't be hidden in the league any more with Martin Kelly out for forever. Or maybe Jack Robinson as he will now be the backup at left-back and could use some sharpness? Unlikely. Oh right, John Flanagan too? Oy.
In midfield, with Jonjo Shelvey going on the shelf for three league games I wouldn't be surprised if he gets chucked out tonight ahead of Sahin and Henderson. Both are his likely replacement in the league on Saturday, but for now he can probably get another game in as he only came on for half an hour in Switzerland and then was sent off after about the same amount of time. Sahin needs games. So does Hendo. In fact, Rodgers is throwing down the gauntlet at Henderson, which either means he wants Hendo to prove to be a first-teamer or is starting to grease his exit. Do you throw the gauntlet at someone? Just at their feet? I don't know. Anyway, if they want to give Shelvey a rest you might see Suso at the head of this, but with no forward candidates he's likely to be on a wing in the front three.
And to that. This is where we have no clue. Borini is injured, and Suarez and Sterling need the break. One expects Sterling to be on the bench. I would go for Suso and Pacheco flanking Morgan. But seeing as how Morgan didn't even make the bench in Europe, one wonders if that's actually the case. It could be anything at this point. And now we see why Liverpool may take this competition as nothing more than a nuisance, despite being the holders.
Being part of the staff that won it last year has led Steve Clarke to take this competition seriously, though in their win over Yeovil there were only two or three regular starters in the lineup. But that was Yeovil, this is Liverpool at home -- despite whatever 11 Rodgers tosses out there. Clarke will want to keep the Baggies' flying start to the season going as long as he can, and you do that by piling up wins. They're in fourth if you haven't been paying attention. So while I expect to see a few names omitted, it will probably be close to a full-strength 11 for West Brom. Shane Long didn't play against Reading last weekend, he probably will today. They also don't play again until Sunday, which gives them an extra day to rest if they want to trot out the full side.
Oh, and do i have to mention that things just tend to not go well at The Hawthorns? Because they kind of just don't.
The game isn't live on any American channel. Check The Offside for any backdoor feeds that they can conjure up.