Struggling Preston North End face an absolutely mammoth task to progress to the next round of the Carabao Cup when they welcome Premier League title-challenging Liverpool to Deepdale on Wednesday night.
Frankie McAvoy was appointed as the successor to Alex Neil in the summer following a successful stint as caretaker boss last season. However, he’s found the permanent gig tough so far with the Lilywhites sitting in 19th-position and just six points above the Championship drop-zone after 14 matches.
Their last outing was a disappointing 2-0 defeat to local rivals Blackpool. A goal either side of the break for the Seasiders saw them take all three points with North End skipper Alan Browne also seeing red in the seventh minute of stoppage-time.
Question marks are already being raised as to whether rookie boss McAvoy, who had not managed at senior-level prior to taking the Preston job, is the right man to lead the club forward in the long-term.
A win over Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on Wednesday night, however, would be the perfect way to keep the critics off his back for a while.
Preston North End v Liverpool
Carabao Cup Fourth Round
19:45 Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Football / Sky Sports Ultra HD
(Maximum 10 matches)
JAN 2009 FA CUP Preston 0-2 Liverpool
MAR 1962 LEAGUE DIVISION TWO Liverpool 4-1 Preston
FEB 1962 FA CUP Liverpool 0-1 Preston
FEB 1962 FA CUP Preston 0-0 Liverpool
FEB 1962 FA CUP Liverpool 0-0 Preston
NOV 1961 LEAGUE DIVISION TWO Preston 1-3 Liverpool
JAN 1954 LEAGUE DIVISION ONE Preston 2-1 Liverpool
SEP 1953 LEAGUE DIVISION ONE Liverpool 1-5 Preston
DEC 1952 LEAGUE DIVISION ONE Liverpool 2-2 Preston
AUG 1952 LEAGUE DIVISION ONE Preston 1-1 Liverpool
Unbeaten in their last 13 matches in all competitions, Klopp’s Liverpool look back to their very best and difficult to stop at the minute.
Sunday’s 5-0 trouncing of rivals Manchester United is undoubtedly the highlight of their season so far. After just 13 minutes, the Reds were already 2-0 to the good through Naby Keita and Diogo Jota.
That lead was increased further by two more goals from Mohamed Salah just before the break before the Egyptian completed his hat-trick just five minutes into the second-half to continue his remarkable run of form and also become the highest-scoring African player in the Premier League era.
A raft of changes is to be expected for Liverpool whose focus will be on the Premier League and Champions League. Although a cup run is always nice for the supporters, Klopp will likely use this competition as a chance to get minutes in the legs of some of the club’s fringe players.
Players such as Neco Williams, Kostas Tsimikas and Takumi Minamino are likely to come into the team with Adrian also in line for a rare start with Alisson expected to get a rest and Caoimhin Kelleher sidelined through injury.
Despite the likely Liverpool changes, I still expect this to be a comfortable night’s work for them. Anything can happen in cup football of course, but with the form they’re in at the moment, Liverpool should come through this with ease. We’re backing a Liverpool win to nil with a correct score of 3-0 to the away side.
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