Oxlade-Chamberlain set for first start in League Cup
Liverpool take on Leicester City in the pick of the English League Cup ties this week as manager Jurgen Klopp seeks to eradicate the frustrating defensive blunders dogging his team.
Other all-Premier League ties pit struggling Crystal Palace against Huddersfield, West Brom against Manchester City, Bournemouth against Brighton, while Manchester United face Burton Albion in a low-key start to their title defence.
Liverpool, United and the other teams in European competition only enter the draw for the League Cup, called the Carabao Cup this season after its new sponsors, at the third-round stage
Klopp’s Liverpool started the season brightly but have stuttered over the past week, with a 5-0 defeat to Manchester City followed by frustrating draws against Sevilla in the Champions League and Burnley in the Premier League.
The manager is set to make changes for Tuesday’s match at Leicester, handing midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who joined on transfer deadline day from Arsenal, his first start for the club after three substitute appearances.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for Alex because since he has been (here) it has been difficult to train on different things because of game after game after game,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference on Monday.
“There is no rush but we are in this three-game-a-week rhythm and during the international break he was with the national team.
“But it is a long-term project so I have no problem. We sat together with him and the analysts and showed him how we want him to play in this position and that position.”
Leicester themselves are looking to kickstart their season after a disappointing start that sees the 2015-16 Premier League champions languishing in 15th place but striker Jamie Vardy, who has a groin problem, is a major doubt.
Also on Tuesday, Roy Hodgson’s Palace play Huddersfield at Selhurst Park after a 1-0 defeat to Southampton saw them become the first Premier League side to lose their first five games and fail to score.
Burton face the daunting task of a trip to Old Trafford on Wednesday, 11 years after they held United to a 0-0 draw at home in the FA Cup before losing the replay 5-0.
Burton boss Nigel Clough hailed the “transformation of the club since the last time we played them as a part-time Conference side”, when he was in his first spell as Burton boss.
“We are only one league behind them after 11 years,” he said. “It’s remarkable how far we have come. The one outstanding memory of the game last time at the Pirelli was when they brought on (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Wayne) Rooney after 60 minutes.
“I think the tie has financially helped the club to build a solid foundation.”
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Arsenal take on Doncaster Rovers at home and Chelsea host Nottingham Forest.