Opinion

Carabao Cup Counts, Klopp Must Take It Seriously

courtesy: bbc.co.uk

Many statements have been made about Liverpool’s outstanding start to the season. They include:

Liverpool is currently flying high on top with seven wins on the trot but its early days yet.
We have topped before at this stage but eventually didn’t finish strongly enough.
Our best squad in ages but City’s squad remains arguably better and they are still favourites … right?
It would be tough to win the Premier League if we advance in the Champions League.
Four games still remain of our 7-match mini test series after winning the first three.
Finally, all the early season hoopla would really count for little if we do not win a major trophy by May 2019.

The good news is Liverpool has the capacity to fulfill these huge expectations.

Adopt Jose’s Strategy  

It’s good to win major trophies but I would really like us to take winning the first trophy available seriously by taking a cue from Mourinho who started a dominant era with a League Cup win in 2005. Winning the Carabao Cup by February 2019 will diffuse pressure as well as prove to the players and Klopp that they can get over the line. It would also boost their confidence massively and make them desire more of the winning feeling. Those reasons and our poor domestic cup record under Klopp provide key reasons Liverpool must beat Chelsea at Anfield on Tuesday.

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We need to focus on winning by simply doing what we must rather than devote too much attention to second-guessing Chelsea’s line-up. Our squad strength allows us put out a strong team with an eye on the more important league game on Saturday at Stamford Bridge without compromising much on quality.

Possible Team List

Klopp will be able to field a solid mix of a couple of first team, fringe and players who need minutes. Players like Naby Keita, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana (if fit), Nathaniel Clyne, Alberto Moreno, Dominic Solanke, Shaqiri, Joel Matip and Fabinho should be in contention. Perhaps Tuesday’s cup tie is part of the reason Shaqiri was quickly taken off vs Southampton. No, I didn’t forget Mignolet. Fabinho being fringe or lacking minutes shows how much we’ve developed over the last couple of seasons. It would be up to players to fight for the win and prove themselves but I will not be remotely surprised should Klopp field a team similar to the first team.

As far as I’m concerned, though the weekend’s league match seems more important, Klopp must assume Sarri will adopt Mourinho’s strategy of taking his first opportunity to win a trophy very seriously. A step that should not be surprising as the Italian has never won a trophy. Jurgen Klopp would do well to adopt Jose’s script to prevent Sarri stealing a march on us. Winning the Carabao would also offload the ‘permanent bride’ monkey on his back.

Beating Chelsea on the way to winning the Carabao would hopefully pave the way to multiple success like Chelsea enjoyed in 2005 when we were painfully beaten in the League Cup final. It was Mourinho’s first Chelsea trophy on the way to a trophy-laden first stint with Chelsea.

Knocking Chelsea out should put them under pressure and buoy our confidence returning for the big Premier League match at Stamford Bridge over the weekend.

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