Liverpool Football: Likely First XI vs. West Brom
Thus far, fortune has not been on the side of Brendan Rodgers.
To recap, Liverpool sold more first-team players than it bought this offseason. And as of this week, the Northern Irishman will have to do without the services of Martin Kelly, Daniel Agger and perhaps Fabio Borini for some time.
Yet, despite all these negatives, he is manager at Anfield. As a result, expectations are high regardless.
Thus, this week's Capital One Cup match is more important than it may appear at first glance. There are a number of players whom Rodgers now needs to evolve far more quickly than he might have liked.
This match should be a great opportunity for some Reds to find form.
GK: Brad Jones
Honorable Mention: Pepe Reina
Jones has been the go-to guy for all non-league matches thus far. For that reason he gets the nod here as the most likely starter.
However, Rodgers may also look to this game as a chance to help Reina find form. He has been off his best on the year and a clean sheet here might help.
RB: Andre Wisdom
Honorable Mention: Jon Flanagan
With Kelly out until at least the new year, Rodgers will need his reserve full-backs on top of their game.
The two options here are Flanagan and Wisdom.
The oddsmakers had Flanagan as the first choice going into the season. However, following his Europa League goal last week, Wisdom may get the nod. He seems to have Rodgers' confidence.
CB: Sebastian Coates
CB: Danny Wilson
Honorable Mentions: Jamie Carragher, Conor Coady
Carragher got some minutes against the Red Devils this week. Current trends dictate that he will start next weekend as well.
Thus, I left him on the bench here for fitness reasons.
Conor Coady could be a sleeper pick for this position as well.
LB: Jack Robinson
Honorable Mention: Jose Enrique
I chose Robinson over Enrique, as I expect Enrique will start this weekend with Kelly out. Robinson has also not been featured heavily at all thus far.
This should be a solid opportunity for Rodgers to see the youngster in action.
CDM: Jordan Henderson
Rodgers gave Henderson the run out against Young Boys in the defensive post. Results were mixed.
Henderson combined admirably with Jonjo Shelvey to produce a few goals. However, he has some maturing to do in helping to secure the back line.
With Lucas out, and Joe Allen starting this weekend, I think Henderson will get the start again.
CM: Nuri Sahin
Matches like these are critical for Nuri Sahin. Injuries have crippled the forward and defensive lines for Liverpool. It is thus imperative that the midfield dictate play.
Sahin is the fourth man out right now, but has the class to be a major contributor. Hopefully he continues to battle back after a season on the sidelines in Madrid.
Suso has looked very impressive after two consecutive matches on the pitch. The Spaniard was on the pitch for all of a minute this weekend before playing in the cross that led to Steven Gerrard's goal.
His technical play fits perfectly with Rodgers' formation. The future is bright for this midfielder at Anfield.
RW: Stewart Downing
Honorable Mention: Joe Cole
Downing continues to feature on the fringes for Liverpool. At this point it is not clear if he will be pushed into a full-back role or if the dearth of alternatives will leave him up front.
Despite his deficiencies and troubling lack of confidence, he is still a classy player. I see him featuring, in some capacity, for the Reds at midweek.
LW: Oussama Assaidi
Honorable Mention: Luis Suarez
The Moroccan winger showed flashes of potential against Young Boys. He is obviously a project for the future. Games like this are his chance to continue his growth.
ST: Samed Yesil
Honorable Mention: Dani Pacheco, Adam Morgan
Yesil is so new that there is not even a picture of him available for the time being. The 18-year-old German could be a star of the future.
Hopefully that future comes quickly. Liverpool need goals.