Liverpool’s senior squad is on the road at the Club World Cup, so they have a squad of youth players set to take on Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup.
Jurgen Klopp spoke at length over the past few months about how the scheduling bulge through this month has left the squad pulled in two directions, and it has indeed forced them to split into two groups. With Klopp and the senior players in Qatar, with their Club World Cup semifinal against Monterrey set for tomorrow, there was no choice but to leave the youth team to play in the domestic Cup competition.
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Harvey Elliott is the most prominent name in the Reds’ squad, while U-23 boss Neil Critchley takes charge of the side. Recent PEC Zwolle arrival Sepp van den Berg starts at center-back alongside Morgan Boyes, while 22-year-old midfielder Pedro Chirivella captains the side.
On the other side, Aston Villa must navigate the potential banana peel, with elimination at the hands of the Reds’ young, inexperienced squad a potentially embarrassing possibility. Manager Dean Smith has made a significant amount of changes to his main squad, with Jack Grealish left on the bench alongside striker Wesley and midfield engine John McGinn. Defender James Chester, making his first appearance for the club this season, earns the captain’s armband, while striker Jonathan Kodija grabs his first start of the campaign.