Liverpool begin their FA Cup run against Wolves on Monday evening with Jurgen Klopp likely to rotate.
That means this game provides a perfect chance for ‘fringe’ players to impress the boss. But who should fans be most excited to see?
Keita is both well-known to fans and an unknown quantity. The 23-year-old had to wait an entire season before completing his move to Anfield, giving everyone a lot of time to build hype.
But Keita has struggled for form, consistency and confidence thus far. Unable to force his way into Klopp’s best XI, the FA Cup game with Wolves provides a great opportunity.
Keita is likely to be one of the best players in Liverpool’s team, which might be the necessary stage to really see what he can do.
Hoever is only 16 years old but he has already begun training with the first-team this season. The teenager has traveled for the game and taken the number 51 shirt.
Hoever is very highly rated at Melwood and will almost certainly make his debut for Liverpool eventually – but tonight could be the night.
If he’s as good as Klopp and co think, there could be a little bit of history made tonight.
An injury-hit season has seen Lallana go from arguably the key player in Klopp’s philosophy to one who struggles for games.
The boss is excited about his return to fitness, however.
“Adam is actually in outstanding shape. It’s unbelievable,” said Klopp, according to the Telegraph. “It was close in the last game [against Manchester City] whether we started him or not.
“Adam is in the best moment since I’ve known him as a person and he will have a big part of our season. In training, everything was good.”
Wolves in the FA Cup sounds like the ideal game to see if Klopp’s right.
Curtis Jones/Rafael Camacho
A depleted squad gave Curtis Jones and Rafa Camacho a chance to impress in pre-season. It was at right-back for both, it should be said – not a natural position for either – but they certainly staked a claim for a game like this.
The duo proved they can hold their own, even if they haven’t fulled developed as players yet.
The FA Cup game with Wolves provides the first opportunity for the teenagers in a competitive game and that’s a different test.
We could see plenty more of them in the next few years if they pass it.
Wolves test defines the FA Cup run
Liverpool will know their chances of a decent cup run after Monday’s game. Molineux isn’t an easy place to go even with your best XI but a win would leave the squad feeling confident of progressing far.
It’ll take impressive showings from the fringe players, however, and the pressure is on. Lose against Wolves and their opportunities begin to fall away.
Win and this season provides yet another reason to be excited.