By Amir Mir
Charlie Nicholas has backed Liverpool to beat Leeds 3-1 in their EFL Cup clash at Anfield on Tuesday night.
The Sky Sports pundit has predicted Reds striker Divock Origi to score first and help his side progress through to the semi-final stage of the competition.
Garry Monk’s side travel to Merseyside to take on Jurgen Klopp’s team who are second in the Premier League, while the Whites sit in a play-off spot in the Championship.
Former Arsenal striker Nicholas praised the work Monk has done at the Yorkshire club, especially considering the situations he has had to work under.
“Liverpool will make changes, regardless of the forced one in terms of Philippe Coutinho,” Nicholas wrote in his Sky Sports column. “Daniel Sturridge looks like he’ll miss out so Divock Origi will get the chance he has earned, while they’ve also got the likes of Lucas Leiva to come in.
“The Reds can’t make many changes defensively, though, which will be a positive thing for them here given they’ve finally put together a couple of clean sheets.
“You must applaud what Garry Monk has done at Leeds. I’m not sure stability is the right word, because I don’t think that’s possible at Leeds, but he’s been able to bed in some young players like Kalvin Phillips and still get results.”
The Reds host the Championship side having beaten lowly Sunderland 2-0 on home soil and as a result record back-to-back clean sheets.
By contrast their opponents beat rivals Rotherham by the same scoreline in the second-tier as Monk’s side have won three of their last four fixtures.
Leeds beat fellow Championship outfit Norwich on penalties to progress through to the quarter-final stages, while Liverpool narrowly beat Tottenham 2-1 at Anfield.
Former Swansea manager Monk will be pleased that the dangerous Philippe Coutinho will not be able to take to the field on Tuesday after he injured his ankle at the weekend.
Equally he will be happy to welcome back centre-back Pontus Jansson back into action after he missed Saturday’s win through suspension.
In other Leeds team news, Garry Monk has stated on Twitter that he wants his side to continue their run.