Liverpool will field a second-string lineup when face Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday, one day before Jurgen Klopp’s side are scheduled to play Monterrey in Qatar.
The defending European champions confirmed their 20-man travelling squad for the 2019 Club World Cup on Sunday, which included standout academy performers Curtis Jones and Neco Williams.
A skeleton crew has been left for the visit to Villa Park, where under-23s manager Neil Critchley will take charge while Klopp and his staff travel east.
Dean Smith’s Villa will relish such a good opportunity to reach a cup semi-final, though the hosts are also lacking confidence having failed to win in their last four games.
Smith’s men may have redemption in sight after they leaked two late goals to lose 2-1 in the Premier League fixture in November.
The league leaders trailed for 66 minutes at Villa Park thanks to Trezeguet’s opener, but Andy Robertson and Sadio Mane each scored in the last four minutes to complete the comeback, via Sky Sports (UK viewers only):
They’ll hope for a different outcome against a youthful Reds lineup, though Villa look to have lost their momentum after a run of three successive defeats.
Liverpool extended their Premier League unbeaten streak to 34 matches on Saturday when they defeated Watford 2-0 at Anfield. Mohamed Salah’s third brace of the season helped seal their 21st win of the campaign in all competitions:
FourFourTwo‘s Jack Lusby previously suggested 16-year-old Harvey Elliott, attacker Jones and right-back Williams could be involved in Birmingham despite making the Club World Cup squad:
Elliott is the only one among that trio who has remained in England and looks certain to play in the League Cup, while Rhian Brewster is another big name in contention to lead the Reds attack.
The Villans failed to score in a match for the only the fourth time this season when they suffered a 2-0 defeat away to Sheffield United on Saturday:
Republic of Ireland international Conor Hourihane missed the visit to Bramall Lane due to injury, though Smith confirmed the midfielder could return against Liverpool, per PhysioRoom.com:
Smith’s side haven’t won a game since they beat Newcastle United 2-0 at home on November 25, but Klopp’s commitments elsewhere could be the boost they need to move one step closer to silverware.