Liverpool: Kelleher, Williams, Gomez. Van Den Berg, Milner, lallana, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Elliott, Origi, Brewster. Subs: Adrian, Jones, Kane, Larouci, Chirivella, Clarkson, Koumetio.
Arsenal: Martínez, Bellerin, Holding, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Torreira, Willock, Maitland-Niles, Özil, Saka, Martinelli. Subs: Macey, Sokratis, Tierney, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Pepe, Lacazette.
Referee: Andre Marriner.
Evening. It’s cards-on-the-table time – it’s hard to predict what might happen at Anfield this evening. That’s not a bad thing, because so much of modern football is too easy to predict. We can expect two vastly changed teams, with Liverpool perhaps more likely to field the most inexperienced XI, given their commitments in the Premier League and Europe, not to mention the Club World Cup in December. As for Unai Emery, the pressure is on at Arsenal, and even though he will not want to field a full-strength team, he might be minded to name a reasonably strong side to get a win on the board and keep open the prospect of some silverware down the line. With the beef between Granit Xhaka and Arsenal fans dominating headlines in the buildup to this game, Emery is acutely aware that Arsenal’s season is already shaping up to be a turbulent one.
Emery needs a response from his Arsenal team after the draw at home against Crystal Palace, even if the XI players who provide it are not regulars. As for Jürgen Klopp, as much as this competition is probably the lowest on his list of priorities this season, it still offers him the chance to give fringe Liverpool players a run out and give him an idea who might be first in line to come in when he has to rotate over the busy festive period. One person we should see this evening, is Mesut Özil, who is expected to captain Arsenal while Xhaka continues to let off steam. While we wait for team news, see if you can spot him in David Squires’s latest bit of brilliant doodling.
For some reason, the match at Anfield kicks off at 7.30pm GMT. Well, it is a school night and I’m not complaining.