The EFL Cup is a competition that can be seen as a hindrance by some and others use the tournament as an opportunity.
Whilst players can utilise the cup games for chances to gain fitness and match sharpness, managers are often heard complaining about the extra games in an already choc-a-block season with games coming thick and fast.
Young players attempting to catch the attentions of coaches both on their own bench and possibly watching on from afar are thrown into action and given the opportunity to showcase their budding talents.
One player who took advantage of the extra fixture was Daniel Sturridge who played a starring role in Liverpool‘s 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur to reach the EFL Cup quarter final.
The Reds’ striker was an unused substitute in Saturday’s win over West Brom but needed less than 10 minutes to turn in instinctively from six yards.
10 – Daniel Sturridge has now scored 10 times in his last eight League Cup appearances. Update.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 25, 2016
Jurgen Klopp made 11 changes from the weekend, one more than Mauricio Pochettino, and it was Liverpool who created more in a scrappy affair.
The 27-year-old scored twice on his return to the starting line-up as Liverpool booked their place in the last eight and gave the Reds an early lead when he was in the right place at the right time to convert after Marko Grujic‘s shot was deflected into his path.
The England striker doubled their lead just after the hour mark when he latched on to the impressive Divock Origi‘s pass to slide his second under Michel Vorm‘s body. Origi laid on two clear chances that Sturridge passed upon, but the pair combined once more for the England striker to be complete his double.
Tottenham striker Vincent Janssen pulled one back from the spot to ensure a nervy finish, but Liverpool held on.
With both outfits within a point of table toppers Manchester City, the managers really sent out a statement by resting the majority of their key players in order to keep up their serious challenge in the Premier League, yet Spurs fans are in disagreement on whether their Argentine manager was correct to do so.
Spurs – who started with eight players aged 23 or under – were by no means overawed but struggled in attack until Vincent Janssen slammed home a penalty when substitute Erik Lamela was fouled, but many punters saw the EFL Cup as a real opportunity to get their hands on silverware and Spurs missed their chance in staking a claim to do so by naming a secondary squad at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s men go through to secure their place in the hat of Wednesday nights draw and there is a real feel good factor around the place at the moment.
— Anything Liverpool (@Anything_LFC) October 26, 2016
Level on points with Pep Guardiola‘s City, Liverpool will have at least six days a week to rest and prepare for league fixtures as they have no European football to worry about.
This could be a memorable season for Liverpool Football Club.