Liverpool FC: Picking a First XI for the League Cup Match Against Swansea

Jake WareCorrespondent IIIOctober 30, 2012

Liverpool FC: Picking a First XI for the League Cup Match Against Swansea

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    Coming off a 2-2 Sunday draw in the Merseyside Derby, Liverpool head into League Cup action on Wednesday hoping to beat Swansea and close out October with a win.

    Whether you decide to call it the League Cup, Carling Cup, Capital One Cup, or even Worthington Cup, no one has one it more than Liverpool, and while the Premier League and later FA Cup are, of course, of greater value, the Reds would love to repeat last year's triumph.

    Brendan Rodgers has some tough decisions to make against his former club, with an important fixture coming up against Newcastle this weekend.

    This is the first XI he should deploy.

GK: Pepe Reina

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    When it comes down to it, Pepe Reina is Liverpool's first-choice goalkeeper, and though Brad Jones has filled in well as his understudy, the Spaniard should be playing every game for the Reds.

    Brendan Rodgers will want to beat Swansea in his first game against his own club, and with important league games against Newcastle and Chelsea on the horizon, Reina needs to be match fit.

    He starts.

LB: Jack Robinson

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    While youngsters like Raheem Sterling, Suso and Andre Wisdom haven been given chances in abundance this season, depth has stopped left-back Jack Robinson, one of the most promising players in the Liverpool setup, from playing.

    Alongside Wisdom (and maybe Lloyd Jones, further down the line), Robinson is the most exciting defensive teenager Liverpool have. He needs to be playing. He'll start against Swansea. 

CB: Sebastian Coates

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    While Liverpool's lack of attacking options has been heavily scrutinized this season, few have questioned the club's defensive depth. Sebastian Coates has been a major reason why.

    Though his first-team chances were limited in 2011-12, Coates has been in fantastic form to start his second season on Merseyside. Brendan Rodgers will have no worries putting the 22-year-old Uruguayan into the team.

CB: Jamie Carragher

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    Jamie Carragher is likely to make his 708th appearance in a Liverpool shirt against Swansea.

    Though he has lost some speed and skill over the years, the experience he brings to the side is second to none, and that will be key in steadying the young defensive line around him.

    Carragher may not be the defender he once was, but he has aged well, and continues to be a very good centre-back option for Liverpool.

RB: Andre Wisdom

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    Since making his debut for Liverpool on September 20 against Young Boys in the Europa League, defender Andre Wisdom has started all but two games for the Reds, and with the injury to Glen Johnson, it is likely he'll be back in the starting XI against Swansea.

    Wisdom has proven himself to be a more-than-capable member of the first-team, and has been one of the more consistent defenders. He may not have the offensive flair that Johnson brings, but, for a 19-year-old, his defensive ability is impressive.

    There are no changes in the back line from the team that beat West Brom in the third-round. 

CDM: Joe Allen

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    Few people know the Swansea organization better than Reds midfielder Joe Allen.

    The Welsh 22-year-old joined the Swans at the age of nine, and made 147 appearances for the club before signing for his former manager Brendan Rodgers with Liverpool this summer for £15 million.

    Allen has been key for the Reds this season. When he sat out the midweek fixture against Anzhi Makhachkala last week, the midfield looked out of sorts. He'll be back in the team against his former club.

CM: Jordan Henderson

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    Jordan Henderson struggled to settle in his first season on Merseyside, but has looked competent this season, despite the lack of continuity in his appearances and in the positions he has played in.

    Against Swansea, Henderson's primary role will be going forward, as he'll be expected to create chances for his attackers, but he will also be relied upon to help Joe Allen out in Liverpool's own half. Henderson's two-way ability will be key for the Reds. 

CM: Jonjo Shelvey

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    Few Reds players have had a better start to the season than Jonjo Shelvey.

    With the obvious blemish that is his sending off against Manchester United, Shelvey has challenged a world-class midfielder in Nuri Sahin for first-team playing time, scored three times in 11 games and made his full England debut.

    He will hope his impressive play continues against Swansea, where he will be relied upon to provide offense and goals.

LW: Oussama Assaidi

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    Oussama Assaidi has arguably been one of Liverpool's most pleasantly surprising players this season, and though he has yet to start a Premier League game, he has been one of the club's real stars in the Europa League and League Cup.

    Against West Brom, the 24-year-old Moroccan destroyed Billy Jones down the left flank. With Angel Rangel suspended, Assaidi would face another backup against Swansea. He could once again be a big influence.

RW: Stewart Downing

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    After a dreadful 2011-12, £20 million man Stewart Downing has actually been one of Liverpool's more productive attacking players.

    Though he still has no goals and assists in his Premier League career with the Reds, now at 39 games, he has scored two goals and three assists in nine non-Premer League games this year, meaning he has already topped his all-competition production from all of last season despite playing in almost one fourth of the games.

    Downing is still not worth £20 million, but he is proving himself to be a good complementary winger for the Reds. He'll be key to victory against Swansea.

ST: Samed Yesil

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    First-team opportunities have been limited for Samed Yesil since he joined Liverpool from Bayer Leverkusen this summer, but with Luis Suarez having started six games in the last 21 days, the youngster should be in line for his second start. 

    Yesil was quiet in his last game against West Brom, but showed glimpses of the promise that led Brendan Rodgers to sign the 18-year-old German.

    He has scored eight times in six games for the Germany U19s and has impressed with the Liverpool reserves. Samed Yesil is ready for another chance.