A chance for Liverpool to right a wrong - but will this man haunt them again?

Liverpool face West Brom tonight in the League Cup, the team which beat them 3-0 in the opening game of the season. Will they go all out to defend their trophy? And can Shane Long inflict further cup misery on the club as he did in 2010?

When you think back to mid-August it seems a long time ago now that Liverpool were heading into their opening game of the season. Not only was the weather sunnier, but the outlook brighter, but defeat that day set the tone for a poor start results-wise in the Premier League.

Five games in they are still searching for that elusive first domestic win, even if the Europa League has at least provided some respite from the tricky challenges at home.

Tonight they head back to the Hawthorns, scene of their 3-0 defeat on the opening day, knowing a repeat would be the last thing they need right now.

The Reds are not exactly in crisis-mode; tough opening fixtures against the more settled sides of United, City and Arsenal were always going to be tough when they were trying to rebuild, but they will want to get back to winning habits sooner rather than later.

The cup draw has given Liverpool and opportunity to come full circle, start from scratch and right a wrong, in other words erase memories of their opening day defeat by eliminating the Baggies. West Brom are in good form and flying high in the league table under the guidance of former Reds assistant boss Steve Clarke.

Liverpool are of course the cup holders, after their penalty shoot-out win over Cardiff back in February, and will not want to be knocked out at the first hurdle in their attempts to retain the crown as they were in 2001 by Grimsby Town when defending the trophy.

The question is, which will be reflected in the team selections, who wants it more?

Liverpool have defensive worries at present heightened by Martin Kelly's injury and Agger also out, but it could provide another chance for a player who impressed in the Europa League, Andre Wisdom.

Liverpool are likely to put out a side similar to their Europa League encounters, full of impressive young talent like Suso, and there is likely to be another start for winger Oussama Assaidi, but Shelvey is suspended.

Yet their main worry has to be if West Brom put out their first choice players and elect to rotate their squad sparingly. If Liverpool's first team could not get the job done against the Baggies, what chance their second string?

Brendan Rodgers should be aware of this, and will not send out a side he does not believe can win, but the Baggies are in form and hope to welcome back Shane Long to first team action.

Yes that is the same Shane Long who knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup when playing with Reading at Anfield two-and-a-half years ago when he scored an extra-time header away to the Kop.

Long has netted three times for West Brom this season- two in the earlier round of the cup against Yeovil, and will relish the opportunity to further make his mark and compete for his place in the first team in such a high profile encounter.

It will be tough for Liverpool, but if they can rise to the occasion and attack more clinically than they did on the opening day of the season and at Anfield on Saturday, then they might just have a chance of going through to the next round.

If they can, then the momentum and feelgood factor of the victory may just spur them onto start rising up the league table sooner rather than later and allowing the 'Rodgers Revolution' to finally take effect.

image: © hisgett

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