Carling Cup 3rd Round.
Leeds United v Liverpool
Kick-0ff: 7:45pm BST.
This used to be one of the main fixtures of the Premier League season, before Leeds hit financial problems and began a slide that shows no club is too big to go down. Leeds now play their league games in the third tier of the league, or League One as the marketing people have renamed it.
Rafa Benitez knows this competition is the ideal time to test out some of the fringe players, but this is a big fixture for the Leeds of 2009. Their ground is sold out, it’s the highest attendance since their Premier League days, they’re here for an upset.
With that in mind Rafa has got Gerrard, Torres and Johnson on the bench, in case the 11 on the pitch don’t take this chance to stake a claim for a regular start.
Jamie Carragher is perhaps one of those with something to prove, he’s not had his best run of form in recent games but captains the side tonight in the kind of atmosphere he thrives in. He partners Kyrgiakos, with Philip Degen making a rare appearance as one of the full-backs. Who’ll take the other full-back role remains to be seen; Fabio Aurelio and Andrea Dossena both start, but so does Albert Riera.
Aurelio has been used in central midfield before by Rafa, but Rafa has given Jay Spearing a welcome start, and the young Red is likely to line up with Javier Mascherano.
Also unknown until after kick-off is whether Ryan Babel will play wide or in support of David N’gog.
At least one player’s position will be known from the off, with Diego Cavalieri starting in goal to give Pepe Reina a break.
Leeds United: 12 Higgs, 2 Crowe, 3 Kisnorbo, 17 Michalik, 4 Doyle, 14 Howson, 16 Johnson, 22 Hughes, 9 Beckford, 10 Becchio, 23 Snodgrass
Subs: 1 Ankergren, 6 Naylor, 7 Prutton, 8 Kilkenny, 18 Robinson, 13 Grella, 21 Showunmi,
Liverpool: 1 Cavalieri, 12 Aurelio, 16 Kyrgiakos, 23 Carragher, 27 Degen, 38 Dossena, 11 Riera, 20 Mascherano, 26 Spearing, 19 Babel, 24 Ngog
Subs: 25 Reina, 2 Johnson, 37 Skrtel, 8 Gerrard, 28 Plessis, 9 Torres, 10 Voronin
Referee: Alan Wiley