Liverpool may have run out 1-0 winners at Villa Park on Saturday, but there’s no rest for the wicked as the Reds open up a second front with League One stragglers Notts County visiting Anfield tomorrow in the second-round of the
Capital One Cup League Cup.
Daniel Sturridge was the match-winner for the second week running as the English forward found the net for the eighth time in only seven matches as Brendan Rodgers side extended their unbeaten league streak to 10 matches. This is the first time the Reds have won a pair of opening league matches since the 2008/2009 campaign and the boss will be looking to build on that winning mentality in the Cup as his side enter the competition with dreams of lifting the trophy for a record ninth time.
“We didn’t have a good start at all last year. Since the turn of the year we’ve been getting better and better” said Rodgers as after his side snatched all three-points in Birmingham on Saturday. “The mentality of the group is to win together. That is important,” continued the boss. With the spectre of Manchester United looming at the weekend, the Northern Irishman is expected to utilize a little more of his group with a pack reshuffle expected to keep legs fresh and minds focused when their old rival comes knocking on Sunday.
Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Kolo Toure could all be given a break as the boss plans for the weekend with the likes of Fabio Borini, Joe Allen, Martin Skrtel, Aly Cissokho, Jordan Ibe, Raheem Sterling and Brad Jones in the frame to feature at Anfield tomorrow as Rodgers confirmed in his pre-match press conference that this will be a good opportunity for those players who haven’t seen any action this season to get a game. Although the boss said tomorrows visitors will be treated with the same respect a club the size of the Manchester United would be, it’s expected to be an easy tie to navigate. Notts County are winless in their last four fixtures in League One and besides a scrappy 1-0 victory over Fleetwood Town in the first round of the Cup, manager Chris Kiwomya has had little to smile about. A last gasp winner from Stevenage midfielder James Dunne relegated the Magpies to another loss on Saturday as their frustrating start to the season continued.
The Magpies will be looking towards former Chelsea youth team striker Adam Coombes to provide a bit a oomph where it was lacking before; Notts County have had a torrid time in front of the net this season and the boss was quick to blame that for their loss to Stevenage on the weekend. “I think we threatened a lot and put good balls into the box, but we didn’t quite get the edge on it” said Kiwomya who continued “I thought we worked hard against them but it was just that finishing touch in the box.” Reds fans will find these comments all too familiar as a lack of sharpness in front of the net has kept Liverpool from running the score lines up with only a pair of goals seeing them through in opening fixtures. Still, a winning start is nothing to shake your head at and they’ll be looking to keep the streak alive tomorrow against the League One side.
After winning the competition for a record eighth time in 2012 under Kenny Dalglish, they were unceremoniously dumped out of the competition last Halloween by Brendan Rodgers former side – and eventual winners – Swansea City. As far as honors go, the
Capital One Cup League Cup isn’t the most prestigious trophy you can take home; still Rodgers will be doing everything in his power to avoid another upset. It might be romantic for a small side to topple a giant, but when you’re that giant, it’s just embarrassing.