Liverpool are in action tonight when they host League One side Derby for an 8pm GMT kickoff. The Reds begin the defence of the League Cup title with hopes of going all the way once again. Here’s the predicted lineup.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

Tonight is an opportunity for the manager to make wholesale changes to his side after a relentless few months. The likes of Alisson, Van Dijk, Fabinho, Firmino and Salah, to name a few, will all get the night off in all likelihood.

This presents a chance for several youngsters to get minutes for the first team in a competitive environment. There should however be a perfect blend of youth and experience to avoid an early Cup upset.

In goal will be Caomhin Kelleher. The Irishman has already been confirmed to start after enjoying a dream campaign in this competition last season. Indeed his last appearance for the club was in the final back in February, where he kept a clean sheet before slamming home what turned out to be the winning penalty.

He hasn’t played a competitive game since turning out for his country in a UEFA Nations League fixture against Ukraine back in June. He has struggled with injury this season but has been fit for a month now and will no doubt be relishing tonight.

In the back four, we should see a full debut for Calvin Ramsay. The right back made his long awaited debut late on against Napoli and looked sharp. He has gotten a few games for the U21s under his belt, even netting a couple of goals.

Kostas Tsimikas will add a bit of seniority to the backline by lining up at left back. In the heart of defence, we can expect Joe Gomez to return to the side. He will most likely be joined by Nat Phillips. Big Nat had had to be patient for opportunities this campaign.

He’s made just the one appearance (at home to Palace) and has been an unused substitute on 16 occasions. There can’t be much left of his time at the club, with a parting of ways surely on the cards in January. Tonight is a chance to put himself in the shop window.

In midfield, Stefan Bajcetic is in line for his full debut. He was a revelation in pre-season and has already made four appearances this campaign. He has looked the part each time and should line up in the defensive midfield position tonight.

The skipper, Jordan Henderson, will likely take up his place on the right of the Spanish youth international. He has only made fleeting cameos over the past week and should be given the green light to play at least an hour tonight.

On the left of the midfield trio could be Curtis Jones. If anyone has a point to prove, it’s him. He’s been on the end of some scathing online criticism, which is unfair considering he has been out injured for a while. He looked more like himself against Napoli and will be looking to stand out tonight.

Upfront, we will definitely see Fabio Carvalho, most likely through the middle. The 20 year old enjoyed a lot of minutes earlier in the season but has seen his opportunities dry up in recent weeks. He will likely get the full game tonight to show what he is all about.

Oxlade-Chamberlain could then line up on the right wing. It is a position he played to perfection last January when Salah and Mané departed for the AFCON. Ox’s Liverpool career is on its last legs (he has just six months left on his contract), and he won’t get many more opportunities to impress.

The options for the forward line are severely limited at the minute. Roberto Firmino is surely due a night off, whilst Darwin Nunez looked goosed late on against Tottenham. With Southampton to come on Saturday, the Uruguayan could be limited to a cameo here.

With Pep Ljinders suggesting we could see a Scouse goalscorer, eyes have turned towards 20 year old academy striker Leighton Stewart. The Scouser has been in good form for the U21s and could be part of the matchday squad.

17 year old Bobby Clark will also be hoping to be involved in some capacity. Clark made his Premier League debut in the 9-0 victory over Bournemouth and has been on the bench on a handful of occasions this season.

18 year old winger Melkamu Frauendorf made his debut for the club last season and scored for the U21s over the weekend. He could be in line for a start tonight on the left wing due to the sparsity of options.

Predicted team:

Kelleher, Ramsay, Phillips, Gomez, Tsimikas, Bajcetic, Henderson, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carvalho, Frauendorf.

Subs: Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Robertson, Elliott, Clark, Stewart, Musialowski, Darwin.


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