It’s the fourth round of this season’s Capital One Cup. Liverpool entertain a Swansea side, who will be looking to capitalize on Liverpool’s shaky run of form and progress further in this competition. Both of these sides have won this competition in the last three seasons. Liverpool, first, in the 2011-12 season. Then, the next season, Swansea actually beat Liverpool (3-1 at Anfield) on their way to being crowned champions.
To get to this round, Swansea had to see off fellow Merseyside club, Everton. Swansea demolished Everton, on the day. They won 3-0 at the Liberty Stadium. Goals from Nathan Dyer, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Marvin Emnes ensured the Swans’ progress. However, since this encounter, the Welsh side have only won one of their last four games. The win coming at the weekend, against Leicester (2-0).
Depending on how serious Swansea are taking this competition, will determine the team Garry Monk will select. I’d imagine and anticipate a strong side from the Swans. Monk will want another cup run, as he was part of the side that made Swansea history. Wilfried Bony, who was linked with a move to Liverpool in the summer, scored two goals at the weekend, in an attempt to rekindle his form of last season. Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge have both started this season tremendously for Swansea, and are perhaps unlucky not to be called up to their international side, England.
I think Swansea could be a serious task for Liverpool. The threat they pose on the counter-attack is going to be a worry and has to be addressed by Brendan Rodgers, if they are going to go through to the fifth round.
The last time these sides met; Liverpool edged it 4-3, in an enthralling encounter. Jordan Henderson notched twice and so did Daniel Sturridge for the home side. Jonjo Shelvey and a Wilfried Bony double for the Swans. Liverpool haven’t been the same side of last season, though. So far, anyway.
Liverpool edged Middlesbrough in the last round of this competition, in a bizarre game. Liverpool took the lead twice in the game (AET). However, ‘Boro equalized to take it to a penalty shootout. Liverpool then went on to win, 14-13 in the penalty shootout. The goals before the penalties were from Jordan Rossiter and Suso.
Unfortunately for Suso, he’s injured. This could have been a game where he was in contention for a starting place. Jordan Rossiter may play, though. And I hope so. I watch the academy (u18s/u21s) play all of the time when it’s being televised. Whenever I watch Jordan Rossiter for the academy, he’s normally the one I am most impressed with. So I hope he gets another chance and can kick on from his debut goal.
Against Middlesbrough, Simon Mignolet played the whole game. So I don’t think there will be a place in the side for Brad Jones against Swansea. Mignolet needs to gain some confidence after a disappointing start to this season.
Mamadou Sakho is still most likely injured. This means one of Dejan Lovren or Martin Skrtel will play. I think it will be Lovren (considering he can play left centre back) to partner Kolo Toure in the Liverpool starting line-up.
Javi Manquillo will keep his place, I think. Glen Johnson will be used against Newcastle on Saturday, if that is the case. Manquillo did play on Saturday against Hull, but I think he will be given another chance to impress Brendan Rodgers against Swansea. He could be in for a tricky evening, as Wayne Routledge/Jefferson Montero will be sure to use their lightning pace against the young Spaniard.
Alberto Moreno will probably be given a rest. Meaning that Jose Enrique will come in and complete Liverpool’s back four. Enrique will be keen to impress Rodgers and shuffle himself back into his first-team plans for the future.
Jordan Henderson, I think, will play. Henderson didn’t play much at all against Hull, for whatever reasons. This leaves him nice and fresh for this game. Henderson’s fitness levels will mean that he can play the whole of this game and the whole of the Newcastle game on Saturday (probably and hopefully).
Lucas Leiva will be in with a high chance of playing, as his game time has been limited this season. The Brazilian played against Boro in the last round, and looked very good, in my opinion. He looked nice and composed on the ball and he wasn’t giving away as many cheap fouls as he normally does. It was an overall better performance from Lucas. And, who knows, another performance like that, he could be forcing himself into the first-team.
Lazar Markovic, you’d think, will get a chance. There has only been glimpses of what the Serbian international can do, since his £20m arrival from Benfica. The highly-rated 20 year old, really has to take this chance by the scruff of the neck. He needs to show why there is this fuss about him. I’ve liked the way he has ran at defenders so far already. However, there seems to be no end product, at the moment. That will come, though. Hopefully.
Like Henderson, Philippe Coutinho didn’t get much of a shout against Hull. The 22 year old will perhaps start, and I hope so. I just love watching Coutinho play. On his day, he’s one of the most entertaining players to watch. I think he will start on the left of the striker.
Who will that striker be, though? Rickie Lambert or Mario Balotelli? Or even, Fabio Borini? It could be partnership between two of those three, too. I’d like to see Lambert. He did pretty well when coming on on Saturday. I could see Rodgers going with Balotelli instead, or as well as, to gain him some confidence, potentially. I doubt it, though. I have a feeling Borini will play in a wider position.
I think Liverpool will be in for a tough test. It could even go down to penalties, I think. I’m going for a Liverpool win on penalties. I’m not sure what side Rodgers will put out, it’s usually hard in cup games to call. This is the side I think will possibly be put out: