Liverpool have endured something of a tough season, and have come nowhere near reaching the heights they enjoyed last year.
They sit well off the title race, and are looking increasingly likely to miss out on a European qualification place, although they have managed to secure passage to the semi-finals of the League Cup, and overcame AFC Wimbledon on Monday evening to book their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Having already been knocked out of the Champions League, the Reds will likely focus their interests on securing silverware in any of the three cup competitions they remain in, with the FA and League Cup being challenged alongside the Europa League. However, with a long way to go in both the FA Cup and the Europa League, one would suggest that the League Cup represents the best chance of finding some success in their poor season - although they have to overcome Chelsea in the semi-finals of the tournament.
A two-legged tie taking place at both Anfield and Stamford Bridge, it would be no surprise to see Jose Mourinho name a full strength Blues side as he looks to secure his first trophy since his return to West London, as well as defeat arch-rivals Liverpool in the process. One would suspect Brendan Rodgers will also name his strongest starting XI for the fixtures, with the games of vital importance to the Merseyside club, and Blues legend Pat Nevin believes the two-legged tie will be Liverpool’s most important game of the season.
Quoted by the official Chelsea website, Scotsman Nevin said: “Brendan Rodgers will definitely put out the strongest side he has in those two Capital One Cup games, be assured of that.
“In fact there is a good argument to say that those games are now among the most important of their season, if not the most important.”
Although it is expected that Mourinho will go all out to clinch the trophy as his own, Nevin is not sure how the Portuguese coach will line his team up in the games, and he is expecting them to be approached in much the same way as Mourinho approached the FA Cup third round tie with Watford.
“For the Reds it [team selection] is an easy call,” he continued. “But what Jose Mourinho decides to do then will become a huge set of decisions. I wouldn't be too surprised if a good number of those who beat Watford on Sunday get another opportunity, certainly at Anfield in the first game in this competition.”