Liverpool will start their third difficult goalkeeper of the season for the Carabao Cup trip to Leicester City after manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed Danny Ward will begin the third round tie at the King Power Stadium. Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius have been rotated in the Premier League and Champions League this term, but the Wales youngster will be called upon this week and be used as the club's goalkeeper through the domestic cup campaign.
The 24-year-old has previously made just two senior appearances for the Reds, both from the start in the Premier League games against Bournemouth and Swansea City at the end of the 2015-16 season, and has only once been named in a matchday squad this term.
Ward spent last term on loan at Huddersfield Town, helping the Terriers gain promotion to the Premier League with two saves in the penalty shoot-out win in the Championship play-off final against Reading at Wembley. Klopp hinted during the off-season that Ward could be in contention for a first-team place this term, and the German's prophecy has come true.
"I would love to but I'm not sure the world is ready for such a crazy decision," said Klopp sarcastically when asked if Ward would be involved, according to the Liverpool Echo. "The third goalkeeper in one season without an injury – we can't do it! No, of course Danny Ward will play tomorrow if nothing happens overnight."
Klopp has also revealed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will make his full debut for Liverpool following his deadline day move from Arsenal. The England midfielder has been restricted to cameo appearances off the bench since his £40m move to Anfield but will tasked with leading the midfield alongside Marko Grujic on Tuesday (19 September).
"We have a lot of players who are in good shape but did not have the match time so far," explained Klopp. "It is difficult to train because of the games but it is a long-term project. We have a lot of players who are in good shape but have not had the match time – for example Grujic made a big step in development.
"It's a fantastic opportunity now for Alex. He had an impact when he came on, now you have three of the line up! We have enough games for the players to get rhythm. It's not easy early in the season. We sit together with him and the analysts to show him how we want him to play in this position or that position. it's worked too but there's no rush. It's really good that he's here.
"Already on the weekend he came on in a difficult situation [against Burnley], there was pressure and we tried to do something without giving up too many opportunities. We took a lot of risk in this game and he was involved in it and did really well.
Another peripheral first-team player in contention to feature for Liverpool is Jon Flanagan. The 24-year-old is over his fitness problems but has only been involved in one matchday squad this term – he was an unused substitute against Crystal Palace in August – but is assured of at least a place on the bench. However, Dejan Lovren, who missed the stalemate with Burnley with a back injury, is likely to miss out.
"It would make sense that Flanno is in the squad," he added. "Playing from the beginning? He didn't have much match time so far. We have a few little things. Dejan has a back problem so we have to see who lines up in the centre-back area."