Liverpool have their captain back as Steven Gerrard makes his first start since his pre-Christmas injury lay-off. Manager Kenny Dalglish has picked a strong side for the visit of Oldham in this Budweiser sponsored cup match, but as strong as it might be it isn’t Liverpool’s strongest.
Pepe Reina is in goal, underlining the importance of the match to Dalglish, but the whole back four has been changed from the normal line-up. Out go Johnson, Skrtel (on the bench), Agger and Enrique – in come Kelly, Carragher, Coates and Aurelio. Aurelio’s inclusion also comes after a lengthy lay-off. Jon Flanagan is on the bench.
Andy Carroll doesn’t start tonight, he’s on the bench with Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Jordon Henderson. Instead Kenny has gone with Kuyt and Bellamy and Maxi makes a welcome return too. Shelvey also starts.
The game gives the returning players the chance to persuade Kenny to bring them back on a more regular basis, but Oldham won’t be there to make up the numbers and the worst thing Liverpool can do is come out with any thoughts the match is already won.
Liverpool: Reina, Kelly, Carragher, Coates, Aurelio, Gerrard, Spearing, Shelvey, Maxi, Kuyt, Bellamy
Subs: Doni, Flanagan, Skrtel, Henderson, Adam, Downing, Carroll