One particular inclusion in the Liverpool starting XI for tonight’s Carabao Cup quarter-final against West Ham came as a surprise to Paul Gorst.
The line-up selected by Jurgen Klopp shows six changes from Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Manchester United, with Mo Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold among those to drop out, although Virgil van Dijk and Dominik Szoboszlai are among the starters.
Writing in the Liverpool Echo‘s live match blog (19:06), the journalist admitted that he wasn’t expecting to see the Hungarian included from the off tonight, considering that he’s started every Premier League game so far this term and seems almost certain to do so against Arsenal on Saturday.
Gorst stated: “So there we have our team news then. No Mo Salah or Ibou Konate but I am surprised to see Dominik Szoboszlai starting. I think the Hungary captain is probably due a rest given the demands placed on him and the recent dip in form as a result of the amount of football he’s played. Still, he’s in there alongside Wataru Endo and Curtis Jones.”
READ MORE: Salah and Trent drop out among 6 changes by Klopp – Liverpool team news v West Ham confirmed
READ MORE: Two things on Tuesday may have pushed Liverpool towards decision on Fabio Carvalho loan recall
Szoboszlai probably could’ve done with being left out of the starting XI tonight, but Klopp’s scope for choice is significantly lessened by injuries to several midfielders.
Even with Harvey Elliott coming into the team, he looks set to feature on the right-hand side of attack so that Salah gets a well-earned rest – the 31-year-old and the Hungarian are the only two Liverpool players to appear in every Premier League match so far this season (WhoScored).
The Reds’ number 8 made a sensational start to life at Anfield, with his highlight coming in this very competition with his screamer against Leicester in the third round in September, but his recent performances have seen a discernible dip from the levels he showed in the autumn.
The hope is that Szoboszlai can produce something special tonight and, if the situation allows for it, to be substituted after no more than an hour so that he’s not overworked coming into the Arsenal showdown on Saturday.
We’d obviously love to see the 23-year-old show the standard of performance of which we know he’s capable, although the main concern might be that he comes through the game without being added to Liverpool’s ever-growing injury list.
📖 Anfield Annals: John Smith – Liverpool’s Red Knight and Most Successful Chairman