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Preview: Norwich City vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups
21/09/2021 11:48:10

Having posted contrasting results in the latest round of Premier League matches, Norwich City and Liverpool prepare to square off in Tuesday's all-Premier League EFL Cup encounter.

The Canaries went down 3-1 to Watford at the weekend, whereas Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool marched to a 3-0 success over Crystal Palace to storm to the top of the rankings.

We say: Norwich City 1-3 Liverpool

A raft of expected changes from Liverpool may have Norwich feeling optimistic about their prospects of a giant killing, but the confidence levels in the two camps could not be more contrasting.

Klopp may have been dealt further blows with absentees at a less-than-ideal time, but we still expect a second-string Liverpool XI to book their spot in round four with minimal difficulty.

Match preview

Life back in the big time is proving to be as difficult as feared for many Norwich supporters, who have now witnessed their side open the season with five consecutive defeats after they were comprehensively beaten by Watford on Saturday afternoon.

Teemu Pukki may have drawn Norwich level after Emmanuel Dennis's opener, but Watford's wing king Ismaila Sarr netted a second-half brace in front of the Carrow Road faithful to leave the Canaries firmly rooted to the bottom of the rankings after five games.

With no points, two goals scored and 14 shipped at the other end, talk of another swift demotion will soon set in for Norwich without a miraculous turnaround, but they did at least manage to catch the eye in a 6-0 thrashing of Bournemouth in the second round of the EFL Cup.

Triumphs in this competition in the 1961-62 and 1984-85 seasons represent the only major pieces of silverware that Norwich have collected in their 119-year history, and by progressing to the third round, they have already bettered their performances from the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

The Canaries can also take solace in the fact that they have strung together an eight-game winning run at Carrow Road in the EFL Cup - last losing 4-1 to Aston Villa in the quarter-finals of the 2012-13 edition and scoring at least three goals each game in their hot streak - but such hopes of that record continuing here will seem slim to the most ardent of Norwich supporters.

If one Liverpool attacker is not busy chalking up his 100th goal for the club, the other one is, as Sadio Mane followed in the footsteps of teammate Mohamed Salah to hit a century of goals for the Anfield outfit against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

After Salah was denied by Vicente Guaita, Mane was on hand to net his 100th strike in Liverpool colours while also setting a new Premier League record for goals in successive matches against a single opponent (nine), before Salah and Naby Keita completed the rout on home turf.

Keeping the momentum going from their dramatic Champions League success over AC Milan, Klopp's side head into Tuesday's game boasting six wins from their last seven in all competitions, as well as five consecutive wins away from home - scoring at least two goals each time.

While challenging for the Premier League and Champions League will remain Klopp's priorities, the Reds are long overdue a run in the EFL Cup, as they have only got as far as the quarter-finals in the last four seasons and last lifted the trophy all the way back in 2012.

It has been 27 years since Norwich last beat Liverpool in any competition - claiming a 1-0 win at Anfield in the 1993-94 Premier League season - with the Reds winning 13 and drawing two of their subsequent 15 meetings with the Canaries ahead of a clash in which they will be expected to cruise through without hitting second gear.

Team News

Norwich could welcome Jakob Sorensen back from a dead leg in time to feature against the Reds, but Sam Byram (thigh), Christoph Zimmermann (ankle) and Przemyslaw Placheta (COVID-19) are expected to remain out.

Bali Mumba - who started in the 6-0 thrashing of Bournemouth - has returned to team training after recovering from a dislocated knee and could be passed fit, while Ben Gibson and Dimitrios Giannoulis will also hope for starts in defence.

Pierre Lees Melou recovered from flu to make the bench against Watford and could feature in the middle, while Milot Rashica and Christos Tzolis - the latter of whom netted twice in the second round - may also start in the final third with Todd Cantwell out for personal reasons.

Meanwhile, Liverpool remain without Roberto Firmino and Harvey Elliott through injury, while Thiago Alcantara pulled up with a calf problem against Palace and will certainly not be risked here.

Trent Alexander-Arnold did not take part at the weekend due to illness, which would have opened up a spot for Neco Williams to start at Carrow Road, but the Wales international is still nursing an ankle issue and will not be passed fit.

As ever, Klopp is set to ring the changes for EFL Cup action, with the likes of Nat Phillips, Divock Origi, Takumi Minamino and Curtis Jones all in with strong shouts of earning places in the first XI.

Norwich City possible starting lineup:

Gunn; Mumba, Kabak, Gibson, Giannoulis; Lees Melou, Gilmour, Rupp; Rashica, Sargent, Tzolis

Liverpool possible starting lineup:

Kelleher; Gomez, Phillips, Matip, Robertson; Milner, Keita, Jones; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Origi, Minamino

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