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RUBLED READERS: We Ain't Got No History
Apparently the only way Liverpool are going to get a home tie in this competition is to make it to the semis, where you automatically get on due to its two-legged nature. But don't rule out the Football League finding a way for the Anfield portion of that to be played somewhere else should Liverpool advance. It's the way things have gone in the League Cup this year.
The fixture that everyone is bitching about rolls around after what seems like five minutes after Sunday's final whistle. It really is pretty ridiculous, but we already went through why there may have been no choice. Chelsea's Champions League involvement -- as brief and hilarious as it might be -- precluded this from being next week and there's little chance they would have agreed to a Thursday night encounter if London police had ruled out a Wednesday one. Whatever, both teams kind of have to deal with it, though Chelsea have an extra day and don't have to travel.
The only question that matters is how much Kenny Dalglish changes the side, and you'd have to guess a lot. As for those who started Sunday who could start today, it's not a very long list. Pepe Renia of course will. The backline probably changes entirely. I would expect to see Kelly-Carragher-Coates-Aurelio/Robinson, though the latter has seemingly fallen out of favor. With Enrique starting every league game since his arrival this would be the time to get him rest. There is the consideration that Liverpool will get almost a full week before returning to West London on Monday for the league fixture against Fulham. But two days is two days.
In midfield, Lucas would have to need oxygen, a deprivation tank, a massage therapist and a stiff drink after his herculian efforts of Sunday. The problem is there isn't really a replacement for him unless Dalglish dips into the youth ranks. Jay Spearing will certainly come into the squad, but with Adam's dodgy fitness there's no way he can play two games in three days. Who does that leave? Jordan Henderson? Started Sunday but didn't the week before, there's a chance. Maxi will certainly come into the team. On the other side, Downing may have to run out there again, with Carroll and Bellamy certainly starting up top. Whatever it is, it'll be a make-shift side.
As for Chelsea, expect to see a healthy dose of Lukaku, Kalou, Malouda, McEachran, and Romeu. While Chelsea always want trophies, the creaking joints of the elder statesmen need the rest. Oh, and Torres probably starts, but I'm not sure that even matters at this point. And now I've just made sure he'll score a hat trick.
The one thing about the League Cup is I usually feel it's cool if you win it, but I never get too upset when Liverpool go out of it either. But now this close to a Final, and against Chelsea, you wouldn't want to lose it. Two wins in a season at the Bridge is a lot to ask, but it doesn't feel like a Bridge too far either. See what I did there?