If you’re hoping to be pleasured aurally today, you might want to get a load of this:
“Still no William Saliba!” fumes Will Butler. “What’s the point in spending so much money on a player if you’re never going to use him?” Steady on there, Will. Just because he hasn’t featured in the first few weeks of the season doesn’t mean he’s never going to be used. Don’t forget he’s only 19 and is arriving in a new league and country off the back off an iffy last season with Saint Etienne – it’s sensible to give him time to prepare, on the training ground and elsewhere, before pitching him into action. No sense in deploying him before he’s ready so that everyone can write him off as a bad buy.
“Salah and Van Dijk?” gasps Patrick Crumlish. “Interesting. Does Virg ever get a rest? That Champions League schedule is going to be intense.” It’s curious alright, though I imagine Van Dijk will only play the first half, like at Lincoln. Same for Salah, most likely.
“Still no sign of Rhian Brewster, even on the bench,” notes Robert Lin. “I haven’t heard any real news about a transfer either for a week or so. What’s going on? Big fall-out with Klopp?” The signs are that he will leave the club before the closure of the transfer window, either on loan or permanently. But that would be for financial and developmental reasons rather than because of any fall out; indeed, word is that Liverpool still rate him so highly that they would like a buy-back clause to be included if they were to sell him.
Jürgen Klopp has made plenty of changes to the sides that started Monday’s Premier League victory but, for the second round in a row, Virgil Van Dijk is in the XI for this competition. Mohamed Salah also starts, with Jota and Minamino completing a slick-looking attack. There’s a pair of teenages Williamses in defence in the form of Rhys and Neco. As for Arsenal, Gabriel comes into central defence, Cedric Soares gets his first start of the season and Mesut Ozil may be considering signing up for pottery night classes.
Liverpool: Adrian; N Williams, R Williams, Van Dijk, Milner; Grujic, Jones, Wilson; Minamino, Jota, Salah,
Subs: Kelleher, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Gomez, Robertson, Origi, Elliot
Arsenal: Leno; Soares, Gabriel, Holding, Kolasinac; Willock, Ceballos, Xhaka; Pépé, Nkeitah, Saka
Subs: Runarsson, David Luiz, Tierney, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Lacazette
Referee: K Friend
Monday’s Premier League joust between these two teams was so good that no one should complain about the sides doing it again just three days later. Except, of course, they are not really going to be the same sides, as both managers are likely to make many changes. But the style and spirit should remain the same, at least, and we are easily amused in these terrible times. So here we are now, Liverpool and Arsenal, entertain us!
Mikel Arteta actually fielded a pretty strong team in the last round, an impressive win at Leicester. Top performers that day included Eddie Nkettiah, Reiss Nelson and Bukayo Saka, who may get a chance to impress again, which would be fitting on the day Saka was summoned to the England squad. While Arsenal were winning at the King Power, Liverpool were laying waste to Lincoln City, with Takumi Minamino and Curtis Jones among the many goalscorers. We await today’s lineup, then, with the confidence that even if each manager omits their top guns, there will be plenty of exciting talent in action.