Preview: Reds on-route to Anfield South
Sam May will follow Jurgen Klopp as he takes his Reds to Wembley on Sunday in search of his first trophy as Liverpool manager. This will be the first time the two clubs meet in a final of a competition.
It will be Liverpool’s 12th League Cup final, a record. Of the previous 11, they have lifted the trophy eight times between 1981 and 2012 – most recently against Cardiff on penalties. They will be hoping to do the same tomorrow and claim their ninth.
Meanwhile, Manuel Pellegrini will be looking to end his final year at Manchester City on a high with a piece of silverware. The Chilean fielded a weakened side against Chelsea in the FA Cup, losing 5-1 with the midweek Champions League game and tomorrow’s mouthwatering encounter in mind.
Adam Lallana who has a calf strain and Joe Allen and Martin Skrtel who have slight hamstring injuries are all back in training, but could be set to feature.
In the cup competition, Liverpool are unbeaten in their last eight games against the Sky Blues, only losing in an FA Cup fourth round replay in 1973.
Dejan Lovren has recovered from a recent illness, but Jurgen Klopp may continue to play Lucas Leiva at centre back, having used him in that position in Thursday’s 1-0 victory over Augsburg at Anfield.
Klopp gave his thought on the encounter: “They will be fit. We will be fit. It is a final and no one cares where you played your last game. I should not talk here about tactics – I think even in Manchester they have televisions so that is not for the press conference. You can be sure we will have a plan but it is not allowed to go with exactly the same plan in a completely different game.”
“If I think about it I have a few nice pictures in my mind of after the game at Wembley, being together with our fans and a real reason to celebrate together with no doubts about why we do that”, Klopp added.
Manchester City’s Wilfried Bony, Jesus Navas and centre back Eliaquim Mangala could all be in contention for tomorrow’s game. Vincent Kompany, Bakary Sagna and Raheem Sterling will play their part having taken part in recovery sessions earlier this week. Fabian Delph, Samir Nasri and Kevin De Bruyne are all out with injuries.
The last eight meetings in all competitions between the sides have produced 32 goals, both teams finding the net in each match – so it seems more goals will follow tomorrow.
Having lost 4-1 to Liverpool in November, Manuel Pellegrini’s gave his thoughts:
“Liverpool made a very good game here at the Etihad. We make a lot of mistakes in the first 15 minutes so they decide the game early, but all the games are different. After we finish on Sunday we have to return to the Premier League, we have another 36 points to fight for.”
“We are six points behind the leaders but we will continue fighting until the end and we are not giving up. It gives you a lot of trust if you win this title”, Pellegrini said.
Sam May’s observations and thoughts from Block 543 in the Liverpool End will follow after the game.