As we enter the League Cup yet again, many fans are wondering what side we should put out and how seriously we should be taking the competition this year.
A sticky first draw to newly promoted Burton Albion away offers a potential banana skin for the Reds that Jurgen Klopp will be looking to avoid. It is expected that we will see the likes of Joel Matip, Emre Can, Marko Grujic, Kevin Stewart, Lazar Markovic, Danny Ings and Divock Origi making their first competitive starts of the year.
Simply put, it’s imperative we have a good go at the League Cup again this year. Whilst top 4 is the holy-grail for many fans, and should be the aim domestically this season, the League Cup offers a real chance of success and silverware for the Reds this year. Now the dust has settled from a poor result against Burnley, it’s time to be positive again. The current squad has more strength in depth than any Liverpool squad for a while. Whereas last year we were bringing in Toure, Smith, Brannagan, Ibe and Ojo, this year the likes of Matip, Can, Gurjic, Stewart and Origi will be using the League Cup as a platform to force themselves into contention for the weekend’s games. This additional strength in depth gives us, draw depending, a big chance to do well in the tournament and go one better on last year.
Another reason we can’t avoid any slip-ups is the game time the league cup offers. With no Europe this year, the Reds are playing far fewer games this time out. Whereas last year fringe players were guaranteed an appearance a week, this year is not so simple. Jürgen Klopp needs the two cups in order to develop the likes of Grujic, Stewart, Markovic, Origi and Ings into genuine contenders for first team places. The more game time these lads get, the better they will do when thrown into the first team for a Premier League game. Not on those list are the younger lads. The likes of Brannagan, Ojo and Woodburn. The further we get, the more those lads may feature in big games for LFC, which is huge. Should we slip up and exit the competition early, these lads will be playing for the Under 21’s, which isn’t of sufficient standard.
Despite what the general consensus may be about the League Cup, it’s one of 3 trophies the Reds can win this year. Liverpool Football Club exists to win trophies. We haven’t won one since the League Cup in 2012 and this club is desperate for some silverware. It also gives us a chance to get that spine-tingling Anfield atmosphere back as the competition enters the later stages, should we get there. The atmosphere for the 2012 semi-final against Manchester City was electric, and the scenes after the semi-final victory against Stoke last year joined it.
Written by Jack Mitchell (@JackMitchell5)