24 October 2006

Liverpool v Reading 10.25.06

3rd round of the Carling Cup. 3pm. Not available on television in the USA.

Liverpool has never played Reading before in any competition.

Having qualified for the Champions League, this is Liverpool’s first game in the Carling Cup. In the last round, Reading beat Darlington 4-2 on penalties after the game ended 3-3.

Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 0-2 Manchester United (a); 1-0 Bordeaux (a); 1-1 Blackburn (h)
Reading: 0-4 Arsenal (h); 0-1 Chelsea (h); 1-0 West Ham (a)

Squad list, according to the BBC:
Liverpool (from): Reina, Peltier, Carragher, Agger, Paletta, Smith, Riise, Luis Garcia, Sissoko, Pennant, Guthrie, Fowler, Crouch, Kuyt, Warnock, Zenden, Martin, Finnan.

Reading (from): Stack, De la Cruz, Halls, Gunnarsson, Bikey, Sodje, Oster, Little, Hunt, Long, Lita, Henry, Joseph-Dubois, Pearce, Hayes, Osano, Ingimarsson, Sonko, Doyle.

Complete guess of a lineup:

Peltier Paletta Agger Warnock
Pennant Sissoko Zenden Riise
Kuyt Fowler

From the looks of the squad list, it appears Benitez will continue with the trend of using mainly youngsters and reserves in the early rounds of the Carling Cup, instead of naming a full-strength line-up in the hopes of putting the weekend as far behind them as possible. Good.

I understand that the team isn’t playing well, and people want to see the first-teamers get back into the swing of things as soon as possible. A home Cup match against a weakened Reading side might appear to be the perfect opportunity for that, but it feels like far too reactionary a measure. Liverpool should be able to do the business with any side they put out from the named squad, and even if they don’t, it’s still the Carling Cup. I write that wanting Liverpool to win every game they play in, whether it’s the Champions League Final, or a friendly match against Vauxhall Motors, and don’t wish to demean the League Cup (that much). It’s just that it is the Carling Cup, and last year, a loss to Crystal Palace at this stage led to the 10+ game winning streak Liverpool went on.

Normally Dudek would play the early rounds of the Carling Cup to give Pepe a rest, but he's still suspended from the Everton reserve game. The reserve team keeper, David Martin, is in the squad, but he was recently injured in a recent reserve game, so Pepe should start.

Despite Reading’s good start to the season, and Liverpool’s lack of form, I still believe the most important part of this game is giving an opportunity to some of the promising youngsters. Both Gabriel Paletta and Lee Peltier have been on the bench for games against Maccabi Haifa and Bordeaux and deserve a start here. I am disappointed and slightly surprised that Paul Anderson, the highly-touted winger signed last season from Hull City, isn’t in the squad at all. From all reports, he’s played very well in the reserve side and was a key player in the team that won last year’s FA Youth Cup.

With these alterations in the line-up, this game shouldn’t be linked to the problems Liverpool has had of late. Nevertheless, if the team does well here, especially the few senior players who will start, it should help the entire squad’s confidence.

• Official Site: Benitez: Robbie will play on Wednesday
• Official Site: Rafa to ring the changes for Cup clash


Steven Gerrards Double said...

I'm looking forward to this game, as a red I want to see the young players get a chance and show some proper pride.

nate said...

Yeah, I love the early rounds of the League Cup, just because we get to see the possible stars of the future. It's why the final run in 04/05 was so gratifying.