2:45pm, live in the US on espn360.com. Supposedly, ESPN360 is the only US outlet. My internet provider doesn’t get it. Most people I know don’t get it. Super.
Setanta has US rights for Carling Cup too, but they’re not showing a Tuesday game. Hopefully they’ll be a stream somewhere.
Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 3-2 West Ham (a); 1-0 Debrecen (h); 4-0 Burnley (h)
Leeds: 4-1 Gillingham (h); 0-0 Southend (a); 2-0 Stockport (h)
Referee: Alan Wiley
Guess at a squad:
Degen Skrtel Kyrgiakos Aurelio
Babel Voronin Riera
Good luck guessing the right mix of reserves, youngsters, and senior players. The only player I’m certain about is Cavalieri, who gets all the cup games. But I’ve a few educated guesses.
First and foremost, I do not want to see Gerrard, Torres, Kuyt, Benayoun, Johnson, or Carragher start under any circumstances. All are too vital to the team, and all could do with the rest. I do want to see both Babel and Riera, though. Babel’s had two decent appearances off the bench and merits a longer test (even though I still think he’s better as a sub), while Riera didn’t start against the Hammers.
Normally, this would be a perfect game for Lucas. Honestly, I’d like to see him captain the side. It’d be a great, and deserved, confidence boost for the lad. But with Aquilani yet to feature, Lucas is crucial, and probably won’t be risked here as he’s started every game so far. But Mascherano, recently back from injury, didn’t start against either Burnley or Debrecen and should be fresher. Otherwise, the alternative is Spearing/Plessis, which is probably too defensive for this game. However, Plessis might be suspended after picking up a red card for the reserves on Thursday.
Skrtel could probably use a game off after Saturday’s performance as well. But with Agger just back to training after another injury, it’s probably too soon. Which would leave Ayala and Kyrgiakos as the centerbacks. Ayala did fine against Stoke, and would probably do fine here, but I’d rather see Skrtel get time with Kyrgiakos to see if there’s something to the pairing.
We should, however, hopefully see the return of Aurelio. He’s come off the bench in the last two games, and seems to be back to full fitness. This is the perfect game to see just how fit he is, and whether he can give Insua competition for the regular left back berth.
Other youngsters who could feature are Pacheco (who did well in preseason), Darby (Degen seems more likely in case he’s needed in a real game, while Kelly’s away with the U20s), or Amoo (who’s been in sparkling form for the reserves), but Benitez has always been reluctant to throw too many youth players into the Carling Cup.
Leeds finally look like they’ll be back in the Championship next season, although it’s admittedly very early. But they’re unbeaten to start the season, with seven wins and one draw to start the League One campaign. They’ve held onto Jermaine Beckford, who’ll be the dangerman, and is top scorer with six goals.
The Carling Cup is still the Carling Cup. It’s still last on the list of priorities. But after three years, a trophy is a trophy is a trophy, and Liverpool could do with continuing to rack up wins.