After another disappointing Premier League weekend, Liverpool will be seeking solace in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday when Middesbrough head to Anfield.
The match is certain to see Brendan Rodgers make several changes to his underperforming side, with skipper Steven Gerrard certain to be given a rest after a lethargic performance at West Ham.
Who else will play for the Reds though? Here’s our attempt at predicting their lineup:
Goalkeeper: Brad Jones
Simon Mignolet will no doubt welcome being taken out of the limelight as scrutiny over his form continues. The Belgian simply isn’t a confident, commanding presence at the back for the Reds, and that seems to inspire fear in his defenders.
Giving him a rest here could allow for a rare start for the former Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones, who is certain to be surplus to requirements should Liverpool complete their rumoured move for Victor Valdes.
Defence: Javier Manquillo, Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho, Jose Enrique
Young defender Javier Manquillo was somewhat unfortunate to be withdrawn early on at Upton Park as Rodgers decided to change his system, but the evening would have served as a learning curve for the 20-year-old as he continues to forge a career in English football.
There isn’t much more that Kolo Toure could learn about the game, and Reds fans will hope that the veteran’s presence alongside Mamadou Sakho could teach the jittery Frenchman a thing or two, whilst Jose Enrique should be in line for a rare start at left-back having finally recovered from injury.
Central Midfield: Lucas Leiva, Jordan Henderson (captain)
Both Lucas Leiva and Jordan Henderson started the disappointing evening at West Ham, and it is really more out of necessity that they should start here, too.
Gerrard is in desperate need of a rest and both Joe Allen and Emre Can are injured so these two should be seen from the beginning, although keep an eye out for youngster Jordan Rossiter should he be named on the bench.
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Attacking Midfield: Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool desperately need all three of these players to find some form, and so Rodgers might well overlook Fabio Borini in order to start with Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic in the hope that one of them can make himself undroppable for Saturday’s Merseyside derby.
Of the three it is the form of Coutinho which is the most worrying as the Brazilian struggles to repeat the form of last season, whilst this game should provide valuable minutes for Lallana and Markovic as they continue to recover from injury-interrupted pre-seasons.
Forward: Rickie Lambert
Will Tuesday be the night that Rickie Lambert does what he’s always dreamed of doing, and score a goal in front of Kop?
Much of what has been written since the 32-year-old’s move to his boyhood club in the summer has been of a sentimental nature, and the England forward will be desperate to prove that he’s at the club on merit, not on his back story.
The Possible Liverpool XI:
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