Liverpool's last piece of silverware came in the form of the 2012 League Cup final victory against Cardiff City. Since then, the Reds trophy cabinet has been pretty bare. However, Liverpool, who are set to face Stoke City in the first leg of League Cup semifinals on Tuesday, have another chance of making it to the final, if they get past the Potters over two legs.
With Stoke City playing some brilliant football and Liverpool well below par, the Reds are going to start the League Cup semifinals on the back foot at the Britannia stadium. Liverpool, who have lost against West Ham and Watford in their last four EPL games, have a tough task against Stoke, who have defeated the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City at home this season.
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes will be confident of getting the right result against Liverpool as they have a huge chance of making it to the final. Hughes, who won a number of titles as a player, is yet to win a managerial title and the Capital One Cup 2016 could be the first, if his players showcase their skills, starting with the semifinals against Liverpool.
"I remember those emotions, the excitement and pride you get from winning things, and I'd love to be able to do it as a manager. I have been close, with a couple of FA Cup semi-finals and a League Cup semi-final at Blackburn. I got to a League Cup semifinal at City but got sacked before we played it, although that's another story," Hughes told reporters.
If Stoke players such Bojan Krkic, Ibrahim Afellay, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic, who have shown some great form of late, can deliver the goods in front of their home fans, Liverpool supporters will be left red-faced.
With Stoke's offensive players in great touch, Liverpool defenders are going to hold the key. Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho need to be at the top of their game to stop these players from playing their fluid style of football, which can be a treat to watch to neutrals.
Liverpool have been poor in front of goal with only two goals from their last 4 EPL games, albeit both of them being winners.
Liverpool will travel to Stoke without Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson due to injuries. With Sturridge, Divock Origi and Danny Ings not fit, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is left with only one striker -- Christian Benteke -- who, while scoring some crucial goals for Liverpool, is yet to convince.
With the Belgian striker not looking sharp enough and lacking in movement, one will not be surprised if Klopp starts with Roberto Firmino as a false No.9 as was seen against Manchester City.
With Stoke playing beautifully at home, it will be interesting to see Klopp's approach, as they could well play to contain the Stoke forwards and score the all important goal on the counter and take the crucial away lead to Anfield for second leg.
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Stoke City vs Liverpool League Cup semi final first leg clash has been scheduled for 8pm local time (1:30 am IST, 3pm ET). Viewers in India can Stoke City vs Liverpool League Cup semi final first leg live on Ten Action and Ten HD with live streaming on tensports.com.
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Viewers in Hong Kong, Indonesia and Philippines can watch the game live on beIN Sports 1HD.