Predicted Liverpool XI vs Stoke City
Liverpool will be looking to defend their slim lead in the Capital One Cup semi-final against Stoke City when the two sides take on each other at Anfield on Tuesday evening. Jurgen Klopp’s men are high on confidence following a 5-4 win over Norwich City last weekend in the Premier League. On the other hand, Stoke City suffered a 3-0 loss to title-chasing Leicester City at the weekend, but despite losing to Claudio Ranieri’s men at King Power Stadium the Potters remained in the top half of the Premier League table. For Liverpool Philippe Coutinho, Joe Gomez, Martin Skrtel, Danny Ings, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi remain in the recovery room, but Jurgen Klopp has no other selection worries.
Goalkeeper: Simon Mignolet
Will be disappointed to have let in 4 goals last Saturday, none the less remains Liverpool’s first choice keeper. Given the occasion, Klopp might be tempted to put out his strongest XI, which obviously has Mignolet in it. We spoke last week about the need for him to keep a clean sheet, unfortunately he let in four. But on Tuesday, the Belgian would be eager to keep a clean sheet which would then send his side through to the final at Wembley.
Defenders: Nathaniel Clyne, Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho and Alberto Moreno
The good news for Liverpool is that Lovren is fit to be in the squad but it is unlikely that he will risked so soon after his return by Klopp. The German coach was understandably disappointing with his side’s defensive showing against Norwich, and sorting out his leaky back line should now be his number one priority. But, seeing that they carry a one-goal advantage into the return leg against Stoke, the Reds will have to show improvement immediately at the back if they want to make it to the Capital One Cup final Given the number of injuries, Klopp has very little option but to play the same backline again, which means that we will see Toure and Sakho in the middle, while Moreno and Clyne will be deployed as full backs. There are some doubts regarding Clyne’s fitness but the manager is hoping that the defender is passed fit to start the game.
Midfielders: James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Jordon Ibe.
Henderson struggled to get going during the weekend but picked himself up in the second half and scored a deserved goal. Lallana will be expected to start after he was dropped to the bench against Norwich. It was his goal in the stoppage time which proved to be the winner in a match filled with twists and turns. Ibe struggled to impose himself last weekend but still it would be a surprise not to see him in the starting XI. Milner and Can have been very consistent recently, the Englishman even got himself on the scoresheet, which would have done wonders to his confidence.
Forward: Roberto Firmino
Klopp made it clear in the post-match press conference during the weekend that Firmino is right now the first choice centre forward at Liverpool. He seems to have discovered his scoring form now with his four goals (two against Arsenal) in his last three games.