League Cup preview: Man United, Man City, Liverpool up for the cup


After the extreme penalty shootout drama of Tuesday’s four Capital One Cup fourth round encounters, we have another four games on Wednesday to complete the quarterfinal field

[ MORE: Follow League Cup scores live ]

With Arsenal beaten 3-0 by second-tier Sheffield Wednesday and holders Chelsea dumped out by Stoke in a penalty shootout, three more Premier League big boys will be hoping they don’t crash out as Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool are all heavy-favorites at home.

Expect all three PL giants to rotate their squads as Van Gaal, Pellegrini and Klopp will all be wary of picking up injuries.

[ MORE: Chelsea, Arsenal knocked out ]

Below is a brief preview on each game, while you can click on the link above to follow all the scores live.

Liverpool vs. Bournemouth – 3:45 p.m. ET

Klopp has drawn all three of his opening games as Liverpool boss but in his first taste of the midweek knockout competition he will be relieved to hear that this tie has to finish on the night. Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke are both out injured, so Roberto Firmino could play up front for the Reds. As for Bournemouth, Eddie Howe’s side have endured back-to-back 5-1 defeats in the PL and have been hit hard by injuries. Surely a home win under the lights at Anfield, right?

Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace – 3:45 p.m. ET

City will rotate their squad as they’re already suffering with Sergio Aguero and David Silva out injured. Expect plenty of youngsters to get a chance to shine as the competition they won two years ago is important to Pellegrini. Alan Pardew and Palace will have earmarked going far in the cup competitions this season and after a bit of a wobble recently, they will fancy their chances away at an under-strength City.

Southampton vs. Aston Villa – 3:45 p.m. ET

Ronald Koeman is eyeing silverware and Saints haven’t won a major trophy since 1976. St Mary’s is sold out and expecting a home win as managerless Aston Villa come to town. Last time these teams met Saints won 6-1 but expected a tight encounter with Koeman ready to mix his squad up. Villa’s players will be playing for their future after Tim Sherwood was fired on Sunday.

Manchester United vs. Middlesbrough – 4 p.m. ET

The Red Devils won the League Cup back-to-back in 2009 and 2010 but haven’t reached the final since. This is not the trophy van Gaal would have been targeting in the offseason but any kind of silverware would be welcome in the trophy cabinet. Second-tier Middlesbrough head to Old Trafford to try and cause an upset and Aitor Karanka’s side are currently fourth in the Championship after losing in the playoff final to Norwich City last season. This should be a tough test for United’s youngsters.