Manager Craig Shakespeare believes tonight’s clash with Liverpool provides Leicester City with a good chance to put together a run in the Carabao Cup, but understands it will not be easy for his side. The Foxes host Liverpool at King Power Stadium in the third round on tonight at 7:45pm Nigerian time.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have lost just once in eight games in all competitions this term and have scored in all but one of their games, which was the heavy 5-0 defeat to Manchester City earlier this month. However, with over 30,000 fans set to pack out King Power Stadium, Shakespeare wants his men to put on an entertaining show, but knows advancing in the Carabao Cup is the priority.
Shakespeare said, “I see it as a very good opportunity to get to the next round, albeit against a really difficult opponent. It’s a home game, the fans will turn out in their numbers and we expect, as a team, to try and progress to the next round. It’s an opportunity for us to progress as a Football Club in a cup. We want to do well.”
“It’s always important to try and get the performance right. We want to try and win every game. It’s a cup competition we want do well in. Of course, we’ve got them again on Saturday and we’re in for two tough games.”
Liverpool drew 1-1 with Burnley at Anfield on Saturday afternoon, but Shakespeare believes Klopp is likely to make a number of changes to his side on Tuesday.
He added that, “It’s a very difficult one to predict. I think Jurgen [Klopp] will obviously have a look at his squad and he made a lot of changes on Saturday. They’ve got a tough run of games, us twice, so I’m sure he’ll consider changes. When you’re in the Champions League and Premier League, you probably see it as the most important, but we’ll wait and see.”
“It’s always about putting your house in order first. It’s important that we select the right team to try and cause Liverpool problems. It’s also very important that we’re aware of our own strengths. We’re not sure of their team. What I would say is that they’ve got very good strength in depth and they’ve got a good crop of youngsters underneath that.
Whoever they play, we need to be mindful that they have a good array of talented offensive players. We need to be mindful of the whole team. We all know the strength of Liverpool and what they’re renowned for. They’re a football club that do show importance to cup competitions, but it’ll be an interesting game.”
Jürgen Klopp has confirmed there will be starts for Marko Grujic, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Ward against Leicester City this evening, as Ward gets his first chance between the posts this term, having returned to Liverpool following a successful season on loan with Huddersfield Town, as the Premier League sides face off in the Carabao Cup.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is set for a maiden start since joining the Reds from Arsenal on transfer deadline day, while midfielder Grujic earns an opportunity after he ‘made a big step in his development’ according to the manager.
The third-round tie at King Power Stadium could provide an opportunity for Jon Flanagan, too, with the defender to be part of Klopp’s matchday squad and ‘in the mix, for sure’. Meanwhile, Dejan Lovren is expected to be available for the cup contest after dropping out of the XI on Saturday due to a sore back, and Danny Ings could also come into contention having not being involved in the U23s’ win at West Ham United on Monday.
Leicester manager, Craig Shakespeare has fitness issues to contend with as four Leicester first-team players look likely to miss out on the sides’ first meeting of two this week. Jamie Vardy has not been ruled out but will have a groin problem assessed before a decision is made on his involvement, the Foxes boss explained to the media ahead of the tie.
“He has had continuous treatment and we will give him every opportunity to be fit but he won’t be one to risk,” said Shakespeare. “We will assess him [on Tuesday morning], but I am very confident he will be fit for Saturday.” It is an opportunity for Liverpool’s deadline day signing to win the heart of the fans who ‘never walk alone’.