Liverpool host Stoke City in the semi-final of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, 26 January as Jurgen Klopp will want to pick a trophy in his first season at the club. The Reds have seen a bittersweet month pass thus far, coming back in the last minute to draw against Arsenal, but losing to Manchester United. They also managed to scrape past Norwich City in a gripping encounter which ended 5-4 in favour of the Reds.
Where to watch live
Kick-off is set for 7.45pm GMT. Live coverage of the game will be on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD.
Stoke will be desperate to put in a better performance against Liverpool than the one they mustered at the Britannia, which ended in a 1-0 win for the Reds. Jordon Ibe scored the goal where many teams have tried and failed this season,, including the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City, each coming back without a win in the league.
Manager Mark Hughes will be without defender Ryan Shawcross for the fixture while midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri is fit again and is likely to be a part of the starting 11 at Anfield. Marko Arnautovic has also been cleared to play which will come as a major shot in the arm for the manager, given the 26-year-old's form in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, Liverpool will be desperate to move to the finals where they will be pitted against either Manchester City or Everton, who square up against each other on 27 January. The Reds are currently eight points adrift of a place in the top four and unless something dramatically changes on the league front, Liverpool are likely to endure yet another year away from European action, the disappointment of which can be mollified by winning the cup.
Klopp has urged his team to step up their defence against set pieces, which has been their Achilles' heel this season. They are also struggling to score goals against an organised defence as was evidenced in their capitulation against United.
What managers say
Jurgen Klopp: "Until now when I've met an Evertonian nobody has knocked me, nobody has kicked me, nothing has happened. It has always been nice. It is one of the best rivalries in world football because in a lot of things we are together and in the sport we are against. That is cool, that is how it should be. Going to Wembley is the best thing you can do in football but who the opponent is at this moment is not the biggest issue. If it is Everton, we want to beat them. If it is Man City, we want to beat them. First of all we have to beat Stoke and then we can talk about the rest."
Mark Hughes: "It has been 40-odd years and we remind the players of that because this is an opportunity to make your mark in the game. When that presents itself, you really have to grasp it. It is an opportunity we are not going to allow to pass by lightly. We are going to give it everything. It is a chance for everybody involved here to achieve something that hasn't been achieved for many years. And it is important to us because, if we can get to a final, win a trophy, then that gives you a winning mentality – you've experienced that as a group and that will help you to continue to progress. It is a big part of what we want to do moving forward."
Betting odds (888Sport)
- Liverpool win: 13/17
- Draw: 3/5
- Stoke City win: 39/10
Possible XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno; Henderson, Can, Milner; Ibe, Lallana, Firmino.
Possible XI: Butland; Bardsley, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Pieters; Whelan, Afellay; Shaqiri, Arnautovic, Bojan; Joselu.