In the midst of a middling start to Premier League and his job seemingly hanging by a thread, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is expected to employ several top first-team players in Wednesday’s Capital One Cup third-round clash with League Two’s Carlisle United at Anfield.
Owning only two victories after six league matches, with the last coming in August, the Reds are in need of a rejuvenation. Strikers Danny Ings and Roberto Firmino, as well as midfielder Adam Lallana, are all expected to start against the Cumbrians.
However, striker Christian Benteke will sit out with a hamstring injury he suffered in the first half of Sunday’s draw with Norwich and so is Daniel Sturridge. Following offseason hip surgery, Sturridge returned to the field against the Canaries, but the Reds are bringing him along slowly to avoid any relapse and to keep him fresh for the matchup with Aston Villa.
Liverpool haven’t tasted victory in their last five matches, and first-team coach Gary McAllister expects Carlisle to make a legitimate challenge.
“We need to give the fans something to shout about. It is ideal to get a little run going,” McAllister told reporters. “But we are thoroughly aware it is not going to be easy. They are not going to come here and roll over.”
Carlisle manager Keith Curle was clearly looking forward to and preparing for the matchup well ahead of time. He rested and is expected to bring striker Derek Asamoah back into the starting lineup after sitting him out the 2-2 draw against York.
But Asamoah, who’s netted three goals in five matches thus far, isn’t the Cumbrians most prolific or dangerous scorer. Thanks to a free transfer this summer, Carlisle acquired 32-year-old Jabo Ibehre and he’s responded with 10 goals in 11 matches.
Forward Alex Gilliead was also impressive in his first career start, tallying assists on both of Carlisle’s goals versus York, and he could make the top XI again. The Cumbrians are also hoping defender Troy Archibald-Henville can start a second straight game. The 26-year-old faced Liverpool in the League Cup in 2011 as a member of Exeter.
Kickoff Time: 3 p.m. ET
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