The last time Liverpool lost to Norwich was in 1994. All 15 games since then were Premier League matches. Liverpool drew two and won the rest. The League Cup is an occasion that might have a few advantages in Norwich’s favor, though.
Jürgen Klopp tends to field a much-altered squad in the early rounds of the domestic cup competitions. He’s given squad players and youngsters a run out in the past, and it won’t be a surprise if he does so for the match on Tuesday.
In the last round of the competition, Norwich dismantled Championship side A.F.C. Bournemouth six goals to nil. They play again at Carrow Road and will have the full backing of their home supporters to discourage the visiting Reds.
With a mix of young and old and players looking to prove themselves, there are a few key battles on the pitch to keep an eye on.
Kaide Gordon vs Brandon Williams
The Liverpool Echo highlighted youngsters Kaide Gordon and Conor Bradley being left out of the squad for Liverpool’s latest Premier League 2 match against Leeds United. The thought behind their absence is that both will have some role to play in Liverpool’s upcoming game against Norwich.
Gordon played on the right-wing for Liverpool in the preseason friendlies, and if he does so against Norwich, he’ll find himself up against Manchester United loanee Brandon Williams.
If the 16-year-old gets the nod from Klopp, he has the opportunity to endear himself to Liverpool supporters by tormenting the young Manchester United defender. On the reverse side, Williams can use the motivation of putting one over his parent club’s rivals.
Conor Bradley vs Josh Sargent
The other player mentioned in the Liverpool Echo article, Conor Bradley, gets the nod ahead of Neco Williams because of injury. Williams put in some brilliant performances, like his run-out against in the 2019 League Cup match vs Arsenal, but he’s had rough patches in other games. Caiomhín Kelleher moved ahead of second choice keeper, Adrián, and Bradley has the opportunity to do the same with Williams.
Josh Sargent, the 21-year-old American, made a move to Norwich from Werder Bremen in the summer. He scored two goals in Norwich’s previous EFL Cup match and has started to get more first-team action for the Canaries.
Both youngsters have points to prove and should make for an exciting matchup if Sargent is employed on the same side as Bradley.
Ibrahima Konaté vs Teemu Pukki
Ibrahima Konaté got his first start at the weekend vs Crystal Palace and kept a clean sheet. It wasn’t a straightforward match for Liverpool, and Palace put Liverpool under pressure at various points in the game. Konaté showed his quality in certain battles with Christian Benteke, but Teemu Pukki will give him a different challenge if both start.
Teemu Pukki burst onto the scene in his first season in the Premier League with 11 goals. He’s a striker that has several different skills in his toolbox. He won’t be able to bully the French defender, but he will look to use his experience and his eye for goal to give Konaté more problems than Palace.
Konaté has the chance to give Klopp another look at what he can bring to the team in the long term, but Pukki won’t make it easy for him.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain vs Billy Gilmour
It’s been a while since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has featured regularly for Liverpool. There might not be too many more chances for him to stake his claim for first-team football, but the match vs Norwich will be one of them.
Chamberlain has shown his effectiveness in his link-up play and dribbling past defenders. He has an eye for goal that Klopp recognises to the point where Klopp has experimented putting the ex-Arsenal midfielder in the Roberto Firmino role. Regardless of where Chamberlain plays on Tuesday, contributing to Liverpool’s attack will be one of his roles.
Chelsea Loanee Billy Gilmour has shown early promise at Chelsea and with Scotland. He will sit in the midfield with the task of spoiling Liverpool’s party. If there’s one player Norwich will rely on to help out defensively in the midfield against Liverpool, it will be Gilmour.
Takumi Minamino vs Ozan Kabak
Ozan Kabak might feel hard done by after a decent loan spell with Liverpool. There was the option to buy the Turkish defender, but Liverpool opted to sign Ibrahima Konaté instead. Kabak secured another loan move to the Premier League from the German side Schalke and has the opportunity to show Liverpool what they missed out on.
Coming up against Ozan Kabak and the Norwich defense will most likely be Takumi Minamino. He has yet to set Anfield alight, but he has stiff competition from the Liverpool regulars. This will be an opportunity for him to remind Klopp of his abilities and put his name up for more starts during Firmino’s absence from the side.
Both Minamino and Kabak have different reasons for proving a point to Klopp, and their match-up will be an exciting one to watch if Minamino plays in the Firmino role and Kabak gets the nod to start against Liverpool.
Liverpool heads to Carrow Road on Tuesday and has a tough fight against the newly promoted Norwich. A few rivalries from loanees add an exciting mix to the game, and the match will be the perfect opportunity to win bragging rights. Regardless of the lineups chosen for the upcoming EFL Cup match, there will undoubtedly be several players looking to improve their chances to improve their status in the pecking order at their clubs.