Liverpool host Stoke City at Anfield in second leg semi-final of Capital One Cup on Wednesday. The Reds are already leading the semifinal race with 1-0 after beating stoke City at Britannia Stadium in the first leg.
Jurgen Klopp might have enjoyed the winning moments when his team beat Norwich in a 5-4 thriller, but he must be wary of how his side went 3-1 down after scoring the opener with defensive errors leaking four goals in the match. Nonetheless, the eight-time winners of the silverware will carry along the winning confidence into this game.
Liverpool are having a better season since the arrival of Jurgen Klopp and by assessing their recent performances, it can be said that the German boss instilled a winning ideology into the team, and players seem to be pushing hard for victory in each game. They might have lost a couple of games with close margins, but their overall performance has been impressive.
Heading into the game against Potters, performance from these three players hold the key if Liverpool wants to win this match and the tournament, ultimately:
Milner has proved vital in Liverpool’s recent success and Klopp has assigned him with main attacking responsibilities, unlike his ex-gaffer, Pelligrini. The Englishman has not played enough minutes in the League Cup, but Liverpool squad is dwindling with injuries and Milner, being one of the fittest, will feature in the playing XI. His presence will not lift the overall morale of the team but also their chances to prevail over the opponents as he has the required Cup experience with the City. He has made 34 key passes in the Premier League, highest by any Liverpool.
Lallana may not have had the best stats with 5 assists and 3 goals to his name in 29 appearances this season, but his abilities are unquestioned. Lallana has been playing a wide-central role in the midfield for Liverpool and is found everywhere on the pitch. His movement and stamina can provide space to Liverpool to create more chances, considering the attacking game they have been playing under Klopp. His perfectly-volleyed winner against Norwich came in the 95th and the final minute of the match and were a living proof of his abilities to change games in crucial moments. However, Lallana needs consistency to prove to Klopp that he can be a future at Liverpool and can be considered into the strongest Liverpool XI.
Without Sturridge, Benteke and Coutinho, Firmino has been the only genuine attacking option The Reds have in their squad. To be fair to the Brazilian, he has not disappointed. He is young and still learning and has been quiet at times. Firmino scored a brace against Norwich and had shown that he can sneak in behind the defence lines on any given day. He has 5 goals and 6 assists to his name in 27 appearances this season, which is only going to improve by the looks of Liverpool attack that seems to be picking up the pace in every match they play.
If these 3 players keep doing what they do best, it may be too vague to predict them as BPL title contenders in the coming weeks, but a League Cup is, certainly, a possibility that Klopp can consider.