Liverpool will return to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the Carling Cup quarter-finals, just nine days after beating the Blues in the Premier League and Andre Villas-Boas’ side have the opportunity to gain some revenge.
Although the Carling Cup isn’t exactly the most prestigious of tournaments, it could be argued that it has an added importance for us as we attempt to work our way back into form following a poor run of results. Also, it’s a competition with silverware available, so we may as well go for it.
John Terry picked up a yellow card accidentally (on purpose) against Wolverhampton at the weekend and will be suspended for the game as it was his fifth booking of the season.
Fernando Torres has been getting used to the Chelsea bench lately but could return to the starting line-up against his old side, whilst Raul Meireles, another former Liverpool star, is cup-tied.
It’s a game we’ll take seriously but I’m expecting AVB to go with a relatively young side, which is no bad thing as the old guard have been the guiltiest underperformers during our run of poor form.
Romelu Lukaku and Josh McEachran could be given a rare opportunity to shine, whilst Salomon Kalou may be promoted from being the team’s tea boy for one game.
I’d start this team:
J. Bosingwa – Alex – D. Luiz – R. Bertrand
Ramires – O. Romeu – J. McEachran
D. Sturridge – R. Lukaku – J. Mata
Both Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic have played a lot of football so far this season and this could represent the best opportunity to give them a rest, so the back four more or less picks itself as JT is suspended.
Oriol Romeu impressed against Wolves at the weekend and deserves to keep his spot as a holding midfielder, whilst Ramires is a shoo-in for his position and both will need to work hard in order to protect the back for. Josh McEachran has been something of a forgotten man lately and I don’t see why he cannot make an appearance in this game as we will have Frank Lampard on the bench if he’s needed.
Daniel Sturridge has been scoring goals for fun lately and it only seems right to keep giving him the opportunities to do so. Juan Mata is our main creative source and it’d be hard to pick a team without him, but I would hope we didn’t have to play him or Sturridge for the full 90 as we’ve a big game against Newcastle at the weekend. Didier Drogba hasn’t offered much apart from holding up the ball a bit, so I don’t see why that task would be beyond Romelu Lukaku, who hasn’t seen much game time this season and there won’t be many better opportunities to play him.