Why Liverpool need the Carabao Cup this season

There is nothing more cut-throat than elite-level football and that is exactly what Liverpool are playing at the moment.

The Reds are now 17 games unbeaten in the Premier League – the longest streak in the top flight and Jurgen Klopp knows who his trusted performers are.

New boys Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister have slotted straight into the midfield at Anfield, pushing Harvey Elliott to the bench, with the youngster having to make do with cameos as a substitute.

Although those cameos have been very good, the 20-year-old may soon expect more game time at Liverpool and it does not take long for a professional footballer to get frustrated in this day and age.

But, it’s not just Elliott who may become frustrated – Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota are no longer amongst the starters with Darwin Nuñez hitting form and scoring once again in the 3-1 win over West Ham on Sunday afternoon.

READ MORE: Diogo Jota – Liverpool's perfect squad player faces battle for starting role 

Wednesday night's third round Carabao Cup match against Leicester City presents a chance for Klopp to make changes and give some of his fringe players a chance to put themselves into starting contention for the all-important upcoming showdowns against Tottenham Hotspur, Brighton and Everton in the next three Premier League outings.

Joe Gomez may expect to continue in the defence in the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold, while Ibrahima Konate will have been disappointed to settle for a place on the bench on Sunday at Anfield.

Kostas Tsimikas is a favourite amongst the Liverpool players and will expect to start on Wednesday in a bid to keep Andy Robertson fresh for the weekend.

In midfield, Ryan Gravenberch could well be given another chance to impress after move from Bayern Munich at the end of the summer transfer window.

Ryan Gravenberch, ProShots

The Dutch midfielder had been scouted by the club for quite some time and is expected to eventually become a key component of Klopp's team. However, he must first earn that opportunity like Mac Allister and Szoboszlai.

These players know the chance is there to lay down a marker and Klopp is a manager who is more than willing to make changes if the opportunity presents itself.

For example, if Gakpo scores a hat-trick against Leicester on Wednesday, then how do you leave him out for the trip to London on Saturday?

It makes Klopp’s life a lot harder, but in a good way.

The boss himself has said he welcomes the 'luxury' of squad options this season.

The Carabao Cup is clearly the least important of the four trophies up for grabs this season, but it is pivotal for the Reds' fringe players to show what they can do.

The current crop struggling for minutes just have to look around them for encouragement. Curtis Jones is a player who was on the cusp of the first team this team last year – he often came off the bench and was handed a start every now and again.

But, the number 17 now seems to have cemented a place in the starting XI after taking his chances when they came along. The Liverpudlian is even being likened to club legend Gini Wijnaldum. High praise.

Jones is not the only example for the benchwarmers. Look at the Klopp’s Liverpool sides of the very recent past. The likes of Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi became heroes after helping push their side on to win trophies.

The two attackers never really forced their way into the starting XI on a consistent basis, but they took their chance when it was given to them and that is why they both will always be remembered fondly by the Liverpool faithful.

Ben Doak and Stefan Bajcetic were both left out of Sunday’s Premier League squad after starting in the Europa League win over LASK on Thursday evening.

READ MORE: Stefan Bajcetic – Liverpool starlet's immense talent refuses to be forgotten by injury

The two are shining stars in the Liverpool squad and will look to Wednesday night as another chance to show Klopp what they can offer this side in such an early stage in their careers.

Doak has the toughest job in football in earning minutes in Mohamed Salah's position on the right of a front three, but the Scottish youngster is one for the future and there is no harm in giving him the chances to showcase that.

Liverpool lifted the Carabao Cup as recently as 2022 and those memories of (another fringe player) Caoimhin Kelleher's heroics in the penalty shootout win over Chelsea at Wembley will stay with supporters for a long time.

They are what you get involved in football for.

Caoimhin Kellher, ProShots

The Reds were dumped out of the competition in the fourth round last year, with the cup competitions not even able to provide a distraction from a dismal Premier League campaign.

There is nothing better than lifting trophies, the Liverpool players know that and so will Klopp. The Reds are embarking on a new adventure under the German manager and winning is what will define how successful this new era was for Klopp.

Championship leaders Leicester will know they will not be facing a full strength Liverpool side on Wednesday night, but the players sent out by Klopp will be hungrier than ever.

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