Martin King discusses five players that could make appearances for Liverpool against Derby County this evening.
Liverpool’s EFL Cup campaign continues at Pride Park Stadium, where the Reds will come up against Derby County, with one of the major talking points ahead of kick-off being Jürgen Klopp’s possible starting line-up.
The German boss fielded a strong team in Liverpool’s previous cup match, a 5-0 routing of Burton Albion and will have a big decision to make on whether he continues this way or gives some of his fringe players a chance to stake a claim for first-team contention.
The Reds trained on Sunday after a fruitful Friday night out at rivals Chelsea. Among the notable absentees were strikers Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge as well as midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.
Firmino missed the trip to Stamford Bridge with a groin injury but Klopp confirmed on Monday that the Brazilian has fully recovered and will be available for the trip to Derby, while it’s safe to suggest that the reasons for Sturridge and Wijnaldum’s absence aren’t serious.
Either way, Klopp could decide to give the trio some rest tonight and should he choose to, there will be more than a few names hoping to make his starting eleven and five that Reds fans could look forward to seeing in action.
New signing Loris Karius is yet to make his first competitive appearance for Liverpool, after joining from Mainz in the summer due to a hand injury. Klopp recently spoke of the competition between him and Simon Mignolet, admitting that he is relishing seeing the two challenge each other for a place in the first team.
Given the fact that Mignolet has performed rather well over the past few weeks, a first start for Karius tonight would surely get that challenge completely underway.
Like Karius, Danny Ings is also yet to make a first start this season. The former Burnley striker had a good pre-season, scoring two goals but has since spent some time with Liverpool’s reserve team in an attempt to continue building up his fitness.
The Englishman’s only competitive appearance under Klopp came in the last game of the Reds’ 2015/16 Premier League season, however, Ings will be champing at the bit to make his second and will surely add on to his manager’s selection headache for future ties if it comes tonight.
The Belgian is probably the likeliest of this group of players to make a start at the iPro Stadium.
Origi has made six appearances this season, five of which have come from the bench in the Premier League. His only start, in Liverpool’s last cup tie at Burton, saw him produce a first goal of the season and bearing in mind the fact that scoring from the bench may sometimes be difficult, Origi will surely be looking to add to his tally with a start against Derby.
It may not seem glaringly obvious at the moment but there is still plenty of excitement from Reds fans around new boy Marko Grujič.
A lot of it began in pre-season, when the Serbian’s strength, good ball control and aerial ability were on show in midfield, seeing him score three goals. Grujič’s only appearance this season came at Burnley and he has been an unused substitute in Liverpool’s four games ever since.
The midfielder recently admitted that it may take until next season for Reds fans to see him at his best, as he is still settling into English football but it surely wouldn’t hurt to see him build towards that with a performance in tonight’s EFL Cup match.
Liverpool’s last two matches against Leicester City and Chelsea may have seen the central midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Wijnaldum put in some strong performances but there are many who still feel that Emre Can’s presence is still missed.
The German is widely seen as the club’s only natural holding midfielder and is able to combine both defensive work as well as attack. Can proved that last season, establishing himself as a solid and creative force in Klopp’s team as well as earning plenty of plaudits from fans and pundits, who are convinced he will only mature under the Reds boss.
Against Burton, he impressed but was unfortunately injured. Can has since enjoyed two weeks of full training and although that may not be enough to see him start against Derby, he may still get some minutes from the bench.
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