Aston Villa vs Liverpool
Villa Park, Birmingham
Tuesday, 17-12-2019 @10:45pm
Ref: Lee Mason
Liverpool will have to field a second-string side when they face Aston Villa in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
With a semi-final clash in the FIFA Club World Cup on Wednesday night, Liverpool have been forced to divide their playing staff and will have almost only reserve players available for selection at Villa Park.
U-23 coach Neil Critchley is expected to take charge of the side as Jurgen Klopp is with the senior team in Qatar.
“It’s a great opportunity for all of us, myself included,” Critchley said as quoted by BBC Sports.
“I’ll be very proud to lead the team out. To see the excitement in their eyes, it is so uplifting.”
For Villa, they will see this as an opportunity to reach the last four as they take on an unfamiliar Liverpool side.
Manager Dean Smith will however have a decision to make in goal, with usual cup ‘keeper Jed Steer remaining sidelined with an Achilles injury. Smith could stick with Tom Heaton or bring in his third choice, Orjan Nyland. Conor Hourihane will also be checked after the midfielder missed the Premier League defeat at Sheffield United but the Aston Villa manager was optimistic he would be available on Tuesday night. The likes of Ezri Konsa, Neil Taylor, Douglas Luiz, Trezeguet, Jonathan Kodjia and Jota might also get some game time.
For Liverpool, Rhian Brewster will be assessed ahead of the game at Villa Park. The 19-year-old took a knock to the ankle in training and is an injury doubt. Curtis Jones and Neco Williams will not feature as they have joined the senior team in Qatar.
This is only the second EFL Cup meeting between Aston Villa and Liverpool, with the other coming in the 2002-03 quarter-final – the Reds earned a 4-3 victory on their way to winning the competition that season. Liverpool have won on each of their past six visits to Aston Villa in all competitions, all coming in the Premier League between December 2011 and November this season. Aston Villa are looking to reach the semi-finals of the EFL Cup for the first time since the 2012-13 campaign; the last Englishman to lead the Villans to the semi-final stage was John Gregory in the 1999-2000 season. Liverpool have progressed from each of their past four EFL Cup quarter-finals (2011-12, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17) since losing 2-0 to Chelsea at this stage in 2007-08. Aston Villa’s Henri Lansbury has more assists than any other player in this season’s EFL Cup (five), despite playing only two matches in the competition. This is Aston Villa’s 21st and Liverpool’s 23rd appearance at the quarter-final stage – only Tottenham (24) and Arsenal (28) have appeared in the last eight more often. Liverpool have gone through on penalties eight times in the EFL Cup – more than any other team.
The other Carabao Cup quarter-final matches – Wednesday, 18-12-2019
-Oxford United vs Man City @10:45pm
-Everton vs Leicester City @10:45pm
-Man United vs Colchester City @11pm