Former Liverpool striker Neil Mellor has urged Jurgen Klopp to rest Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino for Norwich City clash on 23 January in order to keep the star duo fit for the Stoke City fixture. The Reds host the Potters in the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final on Tuesday as they already have a 1-0 lead following their first-leg victory at the Britannia Stadium earlier in January.
Klopp will take his men to Carrow Road for the league tie, three days prior to their home clash against Mark Hughes' side. Mellor believes the England international and the former Bundesliga attacker need to be rested for the tie against Norwich as he believes the Liverpool duo needs to be "fully charged" to help them seal a berth in the final at Wembley.
"I know it is Norwich City first but I hope and believe Jurgen Klopp will already have one eye on the game that follows," Mellor told the Liverpool Echo.
"Because the Stoke match at Anfield next Tuesday night is a huge one now and we'll want the lads to be fit, fresh and firing on all cylinders with Wembley potentially just 90 minutes away."
"So for me, the boss has some calls to make regarding the Norwich game. I think Jordan Henderson will be one of them. He was terrific against Arsenal but not quite at the same level against United a few days later."
"With his injury problems this season, that's understandable. I know people don't like the word 'rested' with players but it might just be wise to leave Jordan out of the starting line up at Carrow Road, because he can be a big player for us against Stoke – and we'll need him fully charged.
"The same too possibly goes for Roberto Firmino – Jurgen may well let him sit out the Norwich game so he can be totally fresh.
"The cups – all three of them – become very important for Liverpool now and it will give everyone a big lift if we can make it through to the final and keep on going through the FA Cup and the Europa League too.
"We go into Tuesday's match with a 1-0 lead and while that's a good position to be in starting the home leg, it is only a slender advantage and no one will be taking anything for granted just because we've got our noses in front."
Liverpool are in a firm position to make it to the Capital One Cup. Should they make it to the last two, they will either face their Merseyside rivals Everton or Manchester City, who are the other two semifinalists of this season. Roberto Martinez has already taken a 2-1 lead over City and another win over the Citizens will see them seal a berth in the final.