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Liverpool predicted line-up vs. Chelsea

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Liverpool continue their road to Wembley tonight as they meet Chelsea in the first-leg of the League Cup semi-final at Anfield.

Brendan Rodgers is yet to reach a cup final since taking the helm on Merseyside in 2012, with this the furthest stage he has reached in any competition in two-and-a-half years.

He meets his old employer Jose Mourinho, who brings his side to Anfield in tremendous form. The Blues lie at the summit of the Premier League, five points clear of second placed Manchester City, and enter the clash fresh off the back of a 5-0 thrashing of Swansea City at the weekend.

Liverpool have made strides in recent weeks

The Reds have improved significantly of late and are unbeaten in their last six top flight matches, which included a 2-0 victory away at Aston Villa on Saturday.

Rodgers has the benefit of a few key players returning from injury for the tie and will be looking to outfox his former boss,  after losing 2-1 at home in the corresponding league fixture earlier this term.

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Predicted Starting XI

Goalkeeper - Simon Mignolet

Simon Mignolet has kept clean sheets in his last two games and looks to be growing in confidence. Against Villa, the Belgian was alert early and came off his line, something that hasn't always been present this season. He also made a superb stop to deny Christian Benteke and will have a busy evening keeping out the likes of Diego Costa, Edin Hazard and Oscar and will have to be at his very best.

Centre-back - Emre Can

It's amazing how easily Emre Can has settled in at the back. Despite being a natural midfielder, the 20-year-old looks comfortable in a deeper role and goes about his game so well. His stature allows him to bully players off the ball - something he did to Hazard in November - as well as win aerial duals. With Rodgers encouraging his side to play from the back, he needs players who are happy with the ball at his feet and Can ticks all the boxes and is capable of picking a superb pass.

Centre-back - Martin Skrtel

I've been really impressed by Martin Skrtel of late and he has improved significantly. The Slovak had the task of marking Benteke on Saturday and barely gave the Villa striker a sniff, denying him excellently in the second-half. When these two met earlier this campaign, he got into a battle with Costa and it was an intense dual throughout and it could be similar tonight.

Centre-back - Mamadou Sakho

The third defender picked by Rodgers will more than likely be Mamadou Sakho. The former PSG man has really found his stride of late and looks more and more reliable each week. His tackling is near faultless and his ball skills have improved significantly.

Right-wing-back - Lazar Markovic

Lazar Markovic was quieter than he has been lately against Villa, but still performed well. The Serbian went on some neat runs, testing Aly Cissokho and having success on the right-hand side.  He too does not forget about his defensive duties and cannot afford to with the Chelsea attack on offer.

Centre-midfield - Lucas

Lucas has now become an invaluable member of the Liverpool side and will likely have a busy evening. His ability to sweep up play has been faultless of late and his performances against Sunderland and Aston Villa went under the radar - tonight, he could be the knight in shining armour.

Centre-midfield - Jordan Henderson

It was the stand-in Reds' skipper who got all the praise from the weekend's game. Jordan Henderson put in a performance that highlighted he is really coming of age, dominating the midfield and was everywhere. He won the ball for his side and fed both Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling and continued his serge forward. The England international set up Fabio Borini for his goal, playing an exquisite cross to find the Italian.

Left wing-back - Alberto Moreno

Alberto Moreno has improved a lot of late playing in a new role. The ex-Sevilla man looks more composed as he now has permission to get forward with freedom and does so with any given chance. His left-boot is wicked and gives Liverpool options to get it out wide and put crosses into the box. Much like Markovic, he cannot afford to forget to get back tonight.

Attacking-midfield - Steven Gerrard

The Reds' captain missed Saturday's game, resting his injury to be fit for this tie. Steven Gerrard will be a massive bonus for his side, from a playing and psychological sense. He's a natural leader and now playing in an advanced role, more effective. The 34-year-old may not have the legs he once had, but can expose space so well given the opportunity and will look to dart himself into the box on the hunt for goals.

Attacking-midfield - Philippe Coutinho

The brains of the team is Philippe Coutinho. His display in the Midlands at the weekend was positive, especially in the first-half, making several good runs gliding past defenders. He meets a Chelsea defence who are rock solid, but on his best form the Brazilian is unplayable and will given John Terry and co. plenty to think about.

Striker - Raheem Sterling

With Gerrard returning, it makes sense in pushing Raheem Sterling up-top whilst Daniel Sturridge is still far from full match fitness. He may not be a natural striker, but adapts well and his pace and movement to drag defenders wherever he goes, creating plenty of gaps for his team-mates to expose.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Liverpool
Chelsea

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