Losing Monday Makes Us Favourites For Thursday! by Dan Smith
I had a theory at the start of the week that whoever lost on Monday Night between Liverpool and Arsenal would be favourites to win on Thursday. As someone who believes the Cup competitions are our best chance of creating happy memories this season, then I don’t mind the idea of us caring more about this tie then the hosts.
Let’s be honest had we won at Anfield in the League, some gooners would be talking about being title contenders and not caring about the Carabao Cup.
Arteta’s man management is very good, and he will know the mental effect it could have if we suffer another convincing defeat by the same opposition in the space of 4 days. Especially when the opponents are the standard you are trying to reach.
I’m not saying our manager won’t make wholesale changes. He will, firstly because of the schedule but also an assumption that Klopp will be doing the same. Yet I can see our manager making decisions he may not have if we were still unbeaten in this campaign.
I wrote last week that we don’t know what the Spaniard’s feelings are towards this competition.
Remember he was mentored by Pep Guardiola who’s lifted this trophy 3 times on the spin (the first two with Arteta his assistant).
So where previous regimes would blood Saliba because being knocked out wasn’t the end of the world, I think our coach cares enough where he will only play those that he feels are ready.
I sense he’s giving Runarsson till after the international break to give him his debut, so the keeper has had a few weeks to adjust.
Like in the last round I can see Leno starting to get another dodgy performance out of his system.
I can see David Luiz starting to offer experience. I think the bench will be strong.
Again I’m not sure all of that would have been the case had our last result been different. It would be actually nice if senior players demanded to start. A win puts us in the Quarter Final, why not try and win it?
To achieve any silverware you need luck, and ours could be that the Champions simply won’t care about this Fixture as much as they would have if we had won our first meeting.
Their disdain for both domestic cups last year bordered on arrogance, so why would now be any different, especially with there already a chance to get some distance between them and the chasing pack in the League.
Don’t get me wrong, it won’t be easy. A Liverpool second string includes Jota, Milner, Shaquiri, etc but in theory we should simply want this more.
A win on Thursday wouldn’t be as newsworthy as doing it in the Premiership but I tend to be in the minority when it comes to the League Cup.
If we had got three points the other night, I would have been delighted of course. But I knew win, lose or draw, it wouldn’t change where we are at, in the race for top 4. It’s never nice to lose but we have another 35 chances to make sure we fulfil our objective.
This tie on the other hand represents one of only three realistic chances to see my team win something, moments I don’t take for granted. Even thinking long-term, it can only help this squad get that winning feeling of adding the Carabao Cup to the FA Cup.
So while winning on Thursday might not mean as much had we won on Monday, it would put us 2 wins away from Wembley.
I’ll take that…
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