Football

Oxlade-Chamberlain to get first Liverpool start against Leicester

Liverpool take on Leicester City in the pick of the English League Cup ties this week as manager Juergen Klopp seeks to eradicate the frustrating defensive blunders dogging his team.

Other all-Premier League ties pit struggling Crystal Palace against Huddersfield, West Brom against Manchester City, Bournemouth against Brighton, while Manchester United face Burton Albion in a low-key start to their Cup defence.

Liverpool, United and the other teams in European competitions enter the draw for the League Cup only at the third-round stage.

Klopp's Liverpool have stuttered in recent weeks, with a 5-0 defeat by Manchester City followed by frustrating draws against Sevilla in the Champions League and Burnley in the Premier League.

The manager is set to make changes for tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) match at Leicester, handing midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who joined on transfer deadline day from Arsenal, his first start for the club after three substitute appearances.

"It is a fantastic opportunity for Alex because since he has been (here), it has been difficult to train on different things because of game after game after game," Klopp said yesterday.

"There is no rush, but we are in this three-game-a-week rhythm and, during the international break, he was with the national team.

"But it is a long-term project so I have no problem.

"We sat together with him and the analysts and showed him how we want him to play in this position and that position."

Leicester are looking to kickstart their season after a disappointing start that sees the 2015-16 Premier League champions languishing in 15th place.

Striker Jamie Vardy, who has a groin problem, is a major doubt.

Championship club Burton face the daunting task of a trip to Old Trafford on Thursday morning, 11 years after they held United to a 0-0 draw at home in the FA Cup before losing the replay 5-0.

Burton boss Nigel Clough hailed the "transformation of the club since the last time we played them as a part-time Conference side", when he was in his first spell as Burton boss.

"We are only one league behind them after 11 years," he said. "It's remarkable how far we have come.

"The one outstanding memory of the game last time at the Pirelli was when they brought on (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Wayne) Rooney after 60 minutes.

"I think the tie has financially helped the club to build a solid foundation." - AFP

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