Sami Hyypia’s return from injury sees Jack Hobbs miss out on a chance to start today’s game against Luton at Kenilworth Road. Hobbs is on the bench as Sami partners Jamie Carragher, with Steve Finnan and John Arne Riise playing the full back roles in the absence of the injured Fabio Aurelio and Alvaro Arbeloa.
Torres has been left out of the 16 against the League One side, instead Rafa starts with Crouch and Kuyt up front who are both desperate to prove that Rafa shouldn’t have to rely on Torres for all the goals. Lucas gets a start alongside Xabi Alonson in the centre of midfield; Mascherano is on the bench with Gerrard absent through injury. The wide positions are taken by Yossi Benayoun and Marcus Babel.
Pepe Reina is rested too as is the custom in cup games for Rafa – and many other top-flight managers. In comes Charles Itandje, with David Martin on the bench as cover.
Striker Andriy Voronin and winger Nabil El Zhar make up the places on the bench.
Former Red Don Hutchison is on the bench for Luton, who are still remembered most by Liverpool fans for plastic pitches, banning away fans from their own ground and also for their team not turning up for an FA Cup replay due to snow in Luton, even though their fans had no problems turning up. They caused an upset that year, and Liverpool need to be wary of there being another one this time round.
Luton: 1 Brill, 21 Keane, 5 Perry, 6 Coyne, 3 Goodall, 8 Bell, 10 Currie, 16 Edwards, 25 Spring, 19 Talbot, 20 Andrew
Subs: 4 Hutchison, 12 Jackson, 14 Robinson, 15 O’Leary, 29 Furlong
Liverpool: 30 Itandje, 3 Finnan, 23 Carragher, 4 Hyypia, 6 Riise, 11 Benayoun, 14 Alonso, 21 Lucas, 19 Babel, 15 Crouch, 18 Kuyt
Subs: 40 Martin, 10 Voronin, 20 Mascherano, 42 El Zhar, 46 Hobbs
Referee: Howard Webb