The League Cup quarterfinals arrive this week with one of the most bizarre circumstances surrounding the round’s first match.
Liverpool, or a Liverpool XI, will travel to Aston Villa on Tuesday. However, this Liverpool team will be devoid of stars like Sadio Mane and Mo Salah, since the main squad is at the 2019 Club World Cup in Qatar. The Liverpool first team plays on Wednesday against CONCACAF champion Monterrey at the Club World Cup.
Instead, we’ll get to see the next generation of Liverpool stars along with a possible sprinkling of veterans, such as Dejan Lovren. England youth international Rhian Brewster is a game-time decision after he undergoes a fitness test, but the majority of this side will come from Liverpool’s U-23s.
While Liverpool is forced into a reserve side, it is huge test against an Aston Villa side that will be desperate for a win. Coming up from the Championship, it will be a huge success for Aston Villa if it can even make the League Cup final.
Elsewhere, Duncan Ferguson reportedly takes on his final game in charge of Everton as it hosts high-flying Leicester City. Jamie Vardy had his eight-game goalscoring streak snapped over the weeked, so should he play, you can expect him to find the scoresheet again. Meanwhile, for Everton, it could be a first match for their new coach – Carlo Ancelotti? – to watch from the stands.
The two Manchester clubs have little to gain and all to lose as they take on lower-league clubs at this stage of the competition.
Manchester United hosts League Two Colchester United, while Manchester City travels to League One’s Oxford United.