Liverpool replay Exeter City in the F.A Cup third round at Anfield on Wednesday 20.
Liverpool played Exeter City away at St James Park on January 7. The Reds drew the game 2-2, striker Jerome Sinclair and left-back Brad Smith with the goals. Jürgen Klopp fielded a very young side on the day, and included three debutants. I expect Klopp to play a similar team on Wednesday night.
A home clash with West Ham United awaits the winners.
Liverpool head into this weeks game on the back of a disappointing 1-0 defeat to bitter rivals Manchester United. Liverpool sit ninth in the Premier League table, eight points behind fourth place.
Team news for Liverpool
Liverpool defender Dejan Lovern is close to the end of his injury spell, which has seen him miss a number of games, and the Croatian defender could be included in the squad on Wednesday night. However Martin Skrtel is still set to miss another couple of weeks with a hamstring problem, along with midfielder Philippe Coutinho.
Strikers Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi are still out.
However, good news for Liverpool. Young defender Jon Flanagan could make his first appearance for the first team in over 18 months after Klopp hailed the progress which he has made since returning to training last month from a long-term knee injury, though he is unlikely to play any more than 45 minutes.
Liverpool youngsters Ryan Kent, Cameron Brannagan, Brad Smith and Sheyi Ojo are a number of other players that are expected to be involved against Exeter City.
Goalkeeper Danny Ward, recently recalled from Aberdeen, and the on-loan defender Steven Caulker are ineligible for this tie.
Prior to the 2-2 draw at St James Park, Liverpool won the only previous FA Cup meeting between these two, winning 3-1 at Anfield in a fourth round tie in January 1950.
The Reds have drawn their last two home FA Cup ties 0-0, and have never gone three cup games at Anfield without scoring.
Exeter have not reached the FA Cup fourth round since beating Maidstone United 4-2 in January 1981, losing seven ties since then.
I expect Klopp to start Kolo Toure on Wednesday, a senior defender with vast experience. It may be a lot to ask for Toure to play another game so soon, but with Dejan Lovesn close to returning to the squad, Klopp may start him and rest Sakho for the weekend.
Liverpool midfielder Kevin Stewart did well the last time around, with more choices available to Klopp in the midfield, he may include the Welsh international Joe Allen, as a senior presence in the center of the pitch. The rest of the team is likely to stay the same, though it’s possible we see winger Jordon Ibe, who hasn’t been getting much first team minutes as of late.
I expect Klopp to start with Benteke again up front, although he was disappointing against Exeter last time around, with youngster Jerome Sinclair set to leave in the summer due to his contract expiring, I think he will be overlooked for the Belgium international.
My predicted lineup: Mignolet, Randall, Toure, Ilori, Smith, Allen, Brannagan, Kent, Teixiera, Ibe, Benteke.
Exeter City: L-L-L-D-D-W
My prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Exeter City