Liverpool at Reading
Carling Cup Third Round
7:45pm (2:45pm EST) Tuesday, September 25
The Lowdown: M-I-C… K-E-Y…. M-O-U-S-E!!
It’s probably still not fair to refer to the League Cup as the Mickey Mouse Cup, but old habits die and it’s still a bit amusing. As far as priorities go, the CC has to be last (once again) for Liverpool behind the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup. And although I think the team needs a win right about now, I wouldn’t be adverse to seeing the youngsters dominate the squad sheet, having them bow out of this competition early but honorably thus saving against future fixture congestion.
I suppose, though, an early exit could wait another round.
Reading are fresh off a home 2-1 victory over Wigan, but dropped their two previous league games. Before that, they notched a 1-0 win over Swansea to advance in the Cup. It’s been a disappointing beginning to the season for Steve Coppell’s men as they’ve now just climbed out of the relegation zone with this weekend’s points.
Striker Dave Kitson looks to be returning to form for the Royals, along with winger Bobby Convey. After spending much of last season injured, the American will no doubt be needed to soften the blow of Steve Sidwell’s defection to the Chelsea bench. Striker Leroy Lita is finally fit and available for selection, but was left out of his team’s 16-man squad this past weekend.
Otherwise, injury news for Reading isn’t readily available.
Rafa on the Royals:
Reading will give us a hard game, I am sure of that. But I have been surprised that Reading have not started the season as well as they played last season. I do not understand why. Last season they were really good, they knew what to do and with the same manager for some time, it clearly worked for them.
It is strange that after one season the team are not playing as well and getting results, it is strange. I do not believe in what is called a second-season problem after promotion. It depends on the players you have, nothing more. And they did a very good job last season.
Liverpool come into the game after three straight draws (Portsmouth, Porto and Birmingham), looking for goals and a morale-boosting win. But the question quickly becomes, how many regulars will actually see action in the early round Cup match?
Historically, the Carling Cup is a prime time to shell out some match minutes to the youngsters and dusty reserves. And with Rafa’s obsession with keeping the squad fresh, surely we’ll see the average age of those on Tuesday’s squad sheet plummet.
Indeed, says the Gaffa:
For some of the players who are not playing too much in the Premier League or the Champions League, this will be an important competition for them. It is a trophy I would be happy to win, the first season I was here we got to the final. I would like to be in the final again.
Some of the senior players will have to play against Reading, I will not change the whole team. It depends on who is available and what cover we have in certain positions. But I would hope to give players who are not playing regularly in the Premier League the chance to play.
It is clear that with a big squad we need to see some of the other players. They must be involved because you cannot have them in the squad and then tell them you will not use them in any game. If we stay in the Carling Cup, the FA Cup, the Premier League and the Champions League they will obviously have more chances to play.
Judging by names thrown out on the Official Site, we could see names like Leto, Insua, Hobbs, Lucas and Itandje take the pitch. I’m all for the youth movement in these games because the risk is minimal as my personal valuation of the competition isn’t huge. Like Rafa said, it’s a trophy, which is nice, but the chance to give the youngsters a run-out is paramount.
I look forward to seeing all the kids in action; Hobbs for the experience should we need him in the next few weeks, Lucas and Leto for their sheer talent, Itandje because I’ve not seen him start yet and Inusa because of the expectations attached to his talent.
One would assume that Crouch will be thrown a crumb and start this game and Auriello will be included to continue his comeback, but maybe we’ll see a name like El Zhar on the bench.
I’m also curious to see what name Lucas Leiva is wearing on the back of his shirt. After starting with ‘Leiva’ in the preseason, I believe he’s back to wearing ‘Lucas’. I don’t know why, but these things are important to me.
Five Questions TBA:
How many youngsters will see action?
Can the Reds find the fucking goal?
How broken up would you actually be if Liverpool lost this game?
Would it be a slap in the face if Rafa started Torres?
Is it Saturday yet?