Liverpool vs Carlisle United: three talking points

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Liverpool kick-off their Capital One Cup campaign with a home tie against League Two side Carlisle United on Wednesday evening.

The League Cup is a tournament that Brendan Rodgers is familiar with having come agonisingly close to reaching the final last season but to be knocked out by Chelsea.

The Reds haven't had the most inspiring start to the 2015/16 season and sit 13th in the Premier League after six games and there are several talking points heading into their game with the Cumbrian outfit.


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Match Practise Is Necessary For Sturridge

Last season, Daniel Sturridge was riddled with injury throughout.

From calf problems to hip injuries to thigh strains, the England international could never find full fitness. Other than the positive start of the campaign that he had, he lacked the usual zest and flair that Liverpool fans had been familiar with previously when he did play.

Rodgers had three new strikers arrive at Anfield this summer. Last season, Sturridge was expected to be his managers chief protagonist and lead the Liverpool front-line. 12 months on, the former-Chelsea man could find himself out of favour sooner rather than later.

Of course, Rodgers wants to see Sturridge succeed. On his day, the 26-year-old is among the best strikers in the Premier League and can menace any defender in the world.

However, after a slow start to the season there is significant pressure on Rodgers and unfortunately time is not on Sturridge's side.

Sturridge was given a surprise start in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Norwich City at the weekend and his lack of match practice was more than evident. Neither his touch nor movement was what he is capable of at the height of his game.

Sturridge's afternoon was summed up when he was played through by Lucas but, instead of taking the ball further into the box, hit his shot first time, which was comfortably saved by John Ruddy.

Conversely, Danny Ings replaced Christian Benteke at half-time and gave Liverpool the lead just minutes after coming on and his performance was lauded by both his manager and the press.

Whereas Rodgers would like to take his time with Sturridge, he does not have that option given Liverpool's current situation. Therefore, Sturridge has to show signs that he can bounce back to his best sooner rather than later.

Exciting Times For Rossiter

Following the departure of Steven Gerrard in May and Jon Flanagan's ongoing injury troubles, Liverpool has been left with no recognised local-born player.

To continue the Anfield tradition, it is an absolute necessity to have a local lad in the side. They know the values and identity of the club, what it means to put a Red shirt on and will go the extra mile to succeed.

In the back-to-back losses to West Ham United and Manchester United especially, the Reds were characterless and lacked venom within the middle of the midfield. Both matches were crying out for somebody to bring a bit of aggression and passion.

Liverpool was much better against Bordeaux in the Europa League last Thursday and that was helped by the fact that Jordan Rossiter started in the centre of midfield.

Having joined the club aged six, Rossiter knows Liverpool inside out. He may have been an Everton supporter as a child but he feels the overwhelming pride of putting the Liver bird on his chest. Much like Jamie Carragher and Robbie Fowler, who both were Evertonians did during their respective careers.

Rossiter is young, hungry and eager to break into Rodgers' side. Having had an opportunity in the first team, he will be craving more and should be granted an opportunity against Carlisle.

James Milner's performance against Norwich wasn't the most inspiring, likewise Emre Can and captain Jordan Henderson is out for at least two months with a broken foot. There is a window of opportunity waiting for Rossiter and he must take it with both hands.

No Embarrassing Tale

Down the years, Liverpool has been booted out of cup competitions by lower level sides.

Barnsley's victory in the FA Cup at Anfield in 2008 was particularly painful and Northampton's win on penalties after drawing 2-2 was one of Liverpool's darkest hours in the clubs history.

After three years in charge Rodgers has still not got his hands on a piece of silverware and became the first manager of Liverpool since the 1950's to do so.

Trophies are part of the job description as Reds boss and fans want their days out to Wembley.

Rodgers performed credibly in the League Cup and FA Cup last season having reached the last four in both.

However, the ex-Swansea City boss still has a big fat duck on his Anfield record and Liverpool's 2-1 FA Cup semi-final loss to Aston Villa was nothing short of a terrible performance.

The Northern Irishman has gathered a massive squad due to heavy business in the last two summer transfer windows. The reason behind such trade is that he wants to be multiple handed in every competition and be able to rotate and have players available who can compete as opposed to fringe players who never get a look in.

Owners, Fenway Sports Group, will want to see evidence their heavy investment into Liverpool and Rodgers was worthwhile and a cup would certainly proof.

Maybe the League Cup isn't the Golden Globes of football competitions but it is a competition that has become significantly more respected in recent years and Kopites would relish the chance to win it.

If Liverpool lost to Carlisle, do you think Rodgers would be sacked tomorrow? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below

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Premier League
Daniel Sturridge
League Cup
Christian Benteke
Brendan Rodgers

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