Liverpool will hope for some relief from their struggles in the Premier League and Champions League when they host Swansea City in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday. Brendan Rodgers’s side could only secure a goalless result at home to Hull City on Saturday to leave last season’s Premier League runners-up down in seventh place, three days after they were handed a chastening 3-0 defeat by Real Madrid to further complicate their hopes of making the Champions League’s last 16. The Anfield crowd will be desperate to see a win when Swansea visit in the fourth round of a competition that Liverpool came so close to being ousted from at their first hurdle.
In the third round last month, Liverpool were twice pegged back by Championship outfit Middlesbrough before surviving a record-breaking penalty shootout, 14-13. As on that night, it is expected that Rodgers will make several changes to his lineup when Liverpool go in search of a place in the quarterfinals. One of the players likely to come into the side is Rickie Lambert. The summer signing for Southampton has only made two starts since arriving at the club, but his impact after coming on against Hull was praised by Rodgers, despite failing to bring about a much sought after winner.
“Rickie was excellent when he came on,” Rodgers said, according to Liverpool’s official website. “It has been difficult for him because he probably wants to play a little bit more. But he's working tirelessly in training and when he gets the opportunities to play, if he shows that composure and quality, the chances will come. He made a real difference for us when he came on.”
The main positive from another disappointing result at the weekend was that for the first time since August the team managed to keep a clean sheet. A repeat will be sought on Tuesday against opponents that have twice scored three goals at Anfield since Rodgers left the Welsh club to take over on Merseyside in the summer of 2012. At the same stage of the League Cup two years ago, Swansea triumphed 3-1 en route to lifting their first major trophy.
A part of that triumphant side, midfielder Sung-Yueng Ki went onto play a key role in Sunderland’s run to the final of the same competition while on loan at Sunderland last season. And the South Korea international is keen to make the most of a chance for further success this campaign.
“It was fabulous two years ago,” he said. “It was the same time, in October, so we are definitely looking forward to playing against one of the big teams in England. If we beat them, it’s going to be fantastic so we have to put everything into this game and I think we have a big chance to win.
“I want to go to the final three years in a row if I can, but it’s going to be tough. Liverpool have some quality players. But I just want to enjoy this competition and play well with the players at Swansea. We have a chance that we don’t want to waste.”
After winning their opening three Premier League matches of Garry Monk’s first full season in charge, Swansea went five games without a victory before beating Leicester City 2-0 on Saturday. Monk is expected to field a fairly strong side, although is unlikely to take any chances over a knock suffered by Gylfi Sigurdsson, while Wilfried Bony may make way for Bafetimbi Gomis up front. Liverpool will again be missing Daniel Sturridge and Jon Flanagan.
Prediction: This is again unlikely to be a comfortable night at Anfield for the hosts. With Swansea not involved in Europe and looking on course for a safe mid-table finish in the Premier League, they will surely see the League Cup as a higher priority than Liverpool; a fact that could well be borne out in the two team sheets. Buoyed by getting back to winning ways, Swansea’s short passing game should see them have a decent share of the ball and put pressure on Liverpool’s stills suspect defense. While the end is unlikely to be quite so dramatic as against Middlesbrough, Liverpool could be forced to again go the distance before eventually prevailing.
Liverpool 2-1 Swansea
Kickoff time: 4 p.m. EDT
TV channel: beIN Sports
Live stream: beIN Sports Connect