MK Dons v Liverpool: Second string Reds should have enough

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be keen to impress
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A much-changed Liverpool should still have too much for MK Dons in the Carabao Cup, says Andy Schooler...

"Oxlade-Chamberlain may well be given a more attacking role, probably on the right, and he's another who likes to drift into central areas. Interestingly he has a strong record in the League Cup, scoring six goals in 10 starts."

Back Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for first goalscorer @ 7/1

MK Dons v Liverpool
Wednesday, 19:45
Sky Sports Football

Liverpool have conquered Europe under Jurgen Klopp and look well on the road to finally ending their 30-year wait for a Premier League title too.

However, domestic cup success has remained elusive for the German.

Now in his fourth full season at Anfield, the best Klopp has managed in the League and FA Cups in those seasons is a semi-final run in the former - although that came in a campaign when Liverpool did not have any European commitments to fulfil.

European football has been firmly back on the agenda in the past two campaigns, the Reds reaching finals in both - and winning just one domestic cup tie out of four.

Keeper set for debut

All of their defeats in those ties have admittedly come against Premier League opposition but Klopp has regularly rung the changes for such matches and Wednesday's clash with MK Dons may well see the full XI replaced.

Young keeper Caoimhin Kelleher looks set for his debut but the depth in the Liverpool squad is much better than it was when Klopp arrives almost four years ago and he'll still be able to put out a very recognisable team, one set to include the likes of England internationals Joe Gomez, Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

At least the hosts probably won't have to face the famous triumvirate of Salah, Firmino and Mane but even if they are up against an almost entirely second-string side, it's hard to make a strong case for them.

Up-and-down Dons

They sit just 15th in League One having failed to generate any consistency. They've won four and lost five of the league games so far and on Saturday hit a season low when losing 1-0 at home to a Southend side who had won one point from eight games prior to their arrival at Stadium MK.

To underline the Dons' inconsistency, Southend were the side they beat 4-1, away, in the last round of this competition.

Only one of their wins has come against a team currently in the division's top 10 (Blackpool).

Experienced boss Paul Tisdale has put plenty of faith in young striker Sam Nombe but after back-to-back shut-outs, there have been calls for him to be replaced or given a strike partner.

Sadly for the Dons, one of their decent forward options, Rhys Healey, has a thigh strain and looks set to miss out again.

Business as usual

Former Premier League defender Russell Martin adds experience at the back but it's still not a team that looks likely to land the [17.0] upset.

Liverpool are acca fodder only in the win market at [1.21], while the draw is on offer at [7.6].

Changes to blunt Reds?

The layers clearly feel Liverpool are in for an easy night and the goal lines also also reflect that with over 2.5 at just [1.34]. Much-changed teams can be rather disjointed so perhaps the unders at [3.25] is an option here.

I was also a bit surprised to see both teams to score as short as [1.88]. Perhaps the keeper change for the visitors brings that down a tad but the Dons haven't been banging them in - they've failed to score in three of six home games this season, including the last two.

Ox to find the net

Instead, it's to the goalscorer markets I'm turning for my bet on this televised encounter.

I initially went for Xherdan Shaqiri to find the net only for the Swiss to be ruled out after tearing his calf in training.

But another of the Reds' potential wide players, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, also looks capable of finding the target.

With Divock Origi also injured, Oxlade-Chamberlain may well be given a more attacking role, probably on the right, and he's another who likes to drift into central areas.

Interestingly he has a strong record in the League Cup, scoring six goals in 10 starts. All of those came against lower-league opposition.

Like Shaqiri would have been, he'll be keen to make an impression on Klopp as he looks for more game-time in the first XI.

He can be backed at 2/1 in the anytime goalscorer market but a play at 7/1 for first scorer makes better appeal given the lack of top-quality rivals he's up against in the market.

Opta fact

Liverpool have lost each of their last four League Cup games - the first and second legs of the semi-final against Southampton in 2016/17, followed by consecutive third=round exits against Leicester and Chelsea in 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively. This is their worst ever run of losses in the competition.

Click here for more midweek Carabao Cup previews and tips

Andy Schooler's P/L 2019/20

Staked: 11.5pts
Returned: 17.51pts
P/L: +6.01pts

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