MX23RW : Friday, September 27 14:56:24| >> :600:289305:289305:
Sep 25, 2019 at 7.45pm UK at ​Stadium MK
Attendance: 28,521
MK Dons
FT(HT: 0-1)
Milner (41'), Hoever (69')

Preview: MK Dons vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Liverpool's meeting with MK Dons in the EFL Cup third round on Wednesday, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

There are six fixtures setting Premier League sides against teams from League One and League Two in the Carabao Cup this week, one of the largest gaps in positions coming between Premier League leaders Liverpool and League One MK Dons on Wednesday.

Fans have been queueing around the block at Stadium MK in the hope of snapping up tickets for what is likely to be the hosts' biggest match of the season, taking on a Liverpool side who have spoken of their desire to win as many trophies as they can.

Liverpool's eight League Cup triumphs keep them as the competition's most successful club, and home boss Paul Tisdale says his players are thrilled at the chance to test themselves against elite opponents.

Match preview

Liverpool celebrate Roberto Firmino's goal against Chelsea in the Premier League on September 22, 2019.© Reuters

Liverpool's levels of motivation for a midweek meeting in Milton Keynes could be questioned here, not least because even the most ardent MK fan would agree that the visitors should be able to progress without being at their scintillating best.

The Reds have departed this competition at this stage in each of the last two seasons, losing 2-1 at home to Chelsea last September and suffering a 2-0 defeat at Leicester City the previous season.

Despite reaching the semi-finals three seasons ago, Liverpool's defeat over two legs to Southampton, losing 1-0 each time, means they have lost their last four matches in this competition and are without an away win in the EFL Cup for more than three years.

With one win and no clean sheets in their last eight domestic cup competition matches, Liverpool's priorities these days seem clear - although that defeat at Leicester was the only time they have lost by more than a goal on that run, in which none of their opponents have been lower than Championship level.

General view of MK Dons' Stadium MK from 2018© Reuters

Sitting 15th in League One and without a goal in more than three hours of football, MK Dons suffered a 1-0 home defeat on Saturday to managerless Southend United, who had secured only one point from their opening eight matches of the season.

The defeat was their fifth in an uneven start to the campaign following their promotion from League Two last season, winning a final-day showdown with Mansfield Town to finish three points ahead of their victims, ensuring they finished third in the table.

Tisdale's side began their League Cup run with a 4-2 win on penalties at AFC Wimbledon, where they conceded an equaliser in the final seconds of second-half injury time as the match finished 2-2.

MK Dons had none of the problems they encountered in their most recent meeting with Southend when they played the Shrimpers in the second round at the end of last month, winning 4-1 in one of Kevin Bond's final matches in charge at Roots Hall.

This is the first time they have made the third round since the 2015-16 season, when they lost 6-0 at home to Southampton, although they reached the round of 16 the previous year, when two late goals gave Sheffield United a 2-1 win at Stadium MK.

MK Dons and Liverpool have never met since the new club was founded in 2004, although MK have frequently been drawn against top-flight opposition in the cup.

The most memorable of those was in 2014, when they embarrassed Manchester United by beating the Red Devils 4-0 at Stadium MK during the early part of Louis van Gaal's ill-fated tenure as United coach.

Ben Reeves, the MK Dons midfielder who has won two Northern Ireland caps, provided three assists on a night when the club reached the third round in giant-killing style.

MK Dons recent form: LWWWLL
Liverpool recent form: WWWWLW

Team News

Liverpool's Rhian Brewster celebrates scoring their third goal against Bradford on July 14, 2019© Reuters

Midfielder Naby Keita is likely to make his long-awaited return to action at MK, having been out with a hip strain sustained before the UEFA Super Cup final in Istanbul last month.

Keita returned to training at the end of last week but was not risked in the 2-1 Premier League win at Chelsea, with coach Jurgen Klopp targeting the EFL Cup opener for the Guinea international's comeback.

Belgium forward Divock Origi picked up an ankle issue in the 3-1 home win over Newcastle United, keeping him out of the 2-0 defeat at Napoli and the trip to Chelsea.

Klopp says Liverpool's medical department are continuing to monitor Origi on a daily basis and that a decision on his fitness is likely to be made on the day of the game.

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker is unlikely to make a potential return from a calf injury, while Nathaniel Clyne is out until next year with a cruciate ligament injury from pre-season.

Liverpool will give several players usually confined to the bench and fringes of the matchday squad the chance to impress. Rhian Brewster, Adam Lallana, Xherdan Shaqiri, Harvey Elliott, Sepp van den Berg and Caoimhin Kelleher are some of the squad members who could be involved from the start.

Rhys Healey will be MK's most sorely-missed absentee, sitting out the setback against Southend after Tisdale confirmed his thigh injury is likely to be a long-term problem.

The former Cardiff City forward scored twice in his first five appearances of the season, having signed permanently from the Bluebirds after scoring eight times in 18 games while on loan to his new club last season.

Defender Baily Cargill is out for at least another week with an ankle injury collected in the 3-0 Football League Trophy win at Stevenage Town earlier this month.

Reeves is back in training following an Achilles injury, alongside defender Jordan Moore-Taylor, who has had a knee problem. Neither featured against Southend.

MK Dons possible starting lineup:
Nicholls; Lewington, Walsh, Poole; Martin, McGrandles, Houghton, Kasumu, Brittain; Boateng, Nombe

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Kelleher; Gomez, Van den Berg, Lovren, Larouci; Lallana, Shaqiri, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Elliott; Brewster, Mane

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We say: MK Dons 1-3 Liverpool

Liverpool have class in reserve and a number of players with a point to prove and an eye on forcing their way into a starting lineup that has looked unmoveable during a perfect start to the season.

After two defeats including that surprise loss on Saturday, Tisdale will demand a strong performance from his players in their home glamour tie - and that should keep the score respectable.

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Who will win Wednesday's EFL Cup tie between MK Dons and Liverpool?

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Divock Origi goes down injured during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Newcastle United on September 14, 2019
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