Liverpool v Stoke preview: Jon Flanagan set to start Capital One Cup semi-final 2nd leg
By Grant Miles
Last Updated: 27/01/16 8:30am
Jon Flanagan could return to Liverpool's starting line-up for their Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at home to Stoke, live on Sky Sports 1 HD on Tuesday night.
The 23-year-old is expected to replace Nathaniel Clyne, who did not train with the first team on Monday after sustaining a knee injury during his side's 5-4 Premier League win against Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp claimed he is reluctant to use Flanagan after such a lengthy lay-off, but admits he may have no other option.
Klopp said: "We have to see what will happen overnight and make a decision but it's not too easy because we have only Flanno [Flanagan].
"We all love Flanno but he had a long time (out injured) and 90 minutes or more is maybe not the best thing. But if there's an opportunity, we would like to try it."
Stoke will also have to make a defensive reshuffle, with Ryan Shawcross out for up to a month after suffering a back injury during their 3-0 defeat at Leicester City on Saturday.
Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren is close to full fitness after a three-week absence, but is unlikely to start with Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure set to form the centre-back partnership.
Martin Skrtel, Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho (all hamstring) are sidelined.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes could be able to call on Marko Arnautovic after revealing the forward had suffered "just a little bit of tightness" to his hamstring which kept him out of Stoke's defeat at Leicester, although midfielder Geoff Cameron (ankle) remains sidelined.
Stoke have never beaten Liverpool in six attempts in the League Cup, drawing one and losing five.
Jordon Ibe has scored twice and assisted another goal in his last two League Cup games.
Of the teams remaining in the competition, Stoke have scored the fewest goals in this season's League Cup (five).
The Reds have never lost a League Cup semi-final leg at Anfield, though the last two have been draws (W8 D7).
Stoke have not won at Anfield in any competition since March 1959, going 36 visits without a victory (D5 L31).
Stoke have progressed from both of their semi-finals in the League Cup, reaching the final in the 1963-64 and 1971-72 campaigns.
Roberto Firmino has scored four goals in three games after just one goal in his previous 24 in all competitions.
Liverpool have scored as many goals in their last two games as they had in their previous eight matches in all competitions (eight).
Charlie Nicholas' prediction
With Liverpool's defensive problems, I think this tie is anything but over. They are obviously buoyed by scoring again, but what does Jurgen Klopp do now? Regardless of which line-up he picks, I can still see all sorts of problems with this side.
I don't think Stoke can play anywhere as badly as they did at the weekend and they actually rested a few players, so I wouldn't read anything into that result.
They will be thinking they let themselves down in the first leg, but why not go to Anfield and take them on? They've got as much quality and, despite the blow of Ryan Shawcross being out, they can cause problems from set-pieces, which Liverpool just cannot defend right now.
When I was looking for value when picking out my bets for the match, I was amazed to see Stoke at 5/1 to qualify and I think that's a fantastic price.
I wouldn't be surprised to see this go the distance and I'm actually going for Stoke to go through on away goals after extra time.
Charlie predicts: 1-2 and Stoke to qualify in extra time (33/1 with Sky Bet)
Outright favourites Liverpool are just 1/9 with Sky Bet to book a place in the Capital One Cup final ahead of their second leg with Stoke. The Reds are just 3/4 to win in 90 minutes with Stoke 4/1 to win and 5/1 to qualify.
Ibe is 5/2 to repeat his heroics from the first leg and net again with Firmino, who is Price Boosted from 2/1 to 3/1 to net in a home win, a 7/2 shot to maintain his fine form by opening the scoring. Three of the last four meetings have ended 1-0 to Liverpool and it's 5/1 for a repeat of that scoreline, while Stoke are 15/2 to win to nil.