Oxlade-Chamberlain, Grujić and Ward all to start in Liverpool's League Cup clash with Leicester

Liverpool trio Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Marko Grujić and Danny Ward will all start in the Reds' League Cup third round clash against Leicester City on Tuesday night, manager Jürgen Klopp has confirmed.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, Grujić and Ward all to start in Liverpool's League Cup clash with Leicester
(Picture: Getty Images)

Jürgen Klopp has confirmed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Marko Grujić and Danny Ward will all start for Liverpool in their League Cup clash with Leicester City on Tuesday night.

The Reds travel to the King Power Stadium to face their Premier League rivals, who they also take on in a league encounter on Saturday, for a third-round tie having reached the final and semi-finals in the last two seasons.

Klopp will use the competition to rotate his squad, having already played eight games in little over a month, and says that deadline day addition Oxlade-Chamberlain will make his first start after several appearances from the bench.

"Fantastic" opportunity for summer signing

The German declared that the cup game is "a fantastic opportunity" for the ex-Arsenal midfielder, adding that it has been "difficult to train on different things" for Oxlade-Chamberlain since joining because Liverpool's schedule has been "game after game after game." 

He told his pre-match press conference: "We sit together with him and the analysts to show him how we want to play in this position or that position. It's worked too but there's no rush. It's really good that he's here."

Klopp explained that Oxlade-Chamberlain "came on in a difficult situation" against Burnley where Liverpool "tried to do something without giving him too many opportunities."

He felt that his team "took a lot of risk" and said the England international "was involved in it and did really well", also adding that there are "a lot of players who are actually in good shape" who haven't "had match starts so far."

"For instance Marko Grujić made a big step in his development but no-one can see it yet," Klopp continued. "And so it's really good to give him the opportunity. Still a young boy and stuff like this."

Flanagan will "at least" be in the squad

In addition to confirming starting spots for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Grujić, the Reds boss revealed that goalkeeper Ward will feature between the sticks for the first time since May 2016 "if nothing happens overnight."

After his absence from Liverpool Under-23s' squad for their Monday night win over West Ham United, Danny Ings is likely to make the bench and could make his first-team return. The striker hasn't played for the senior squad since last October.

Elsewhere, centre-back Dejan Lovren is likely to return after overcoming a back problem that kept him out of the weekend's draw with Burnley.

Fellow defender Jon Flanagan will also be included in the travelling squad, Klopp confirming he will "at least" be on the bench because it "would make sense."

He noted that Flanagan, who spent last season on loan at Burnley, hasn't had "a lot of match time so far" and so Liverpool "will see" whether he starts because it "depends on a few little things."

Klopp added: "Dejan didn't play [on Saturday] because of the back problem. We have to see how we can line up at centre-half. 'Is Joe Gomez centre-half or full-back?' and stuff like this. We will see how we can do this. But he [Flanagan] is in the mix for sure."

"Rhythm will come with games"

Asked whether he was worried about a lack of rhythm given that many of Tuesday's starting eleven are unlikely to have played regularly so far this term, Klopp insisted Liverpool "have enough games that the players can gain rhythm step-by-step." 

He insisted that Liverpool are in a situation in which it is "100 per-cent clear" that they "have to make changes" and "have to rotate."

Klopp explained: "We could line up with the same team all the time. We could have done that so far [this season] apart from the [Sadio Mané] suspension, and then wait until somebody is injury and cannot play anymore so another player comes in. But we have to rotate because we are convinced about this squad."

The manager said that is why Liverpool give "different players an opportunity", insisting that while there are "different reasons why it is not easy" to rotate, he is "100 per-cent sure" that they will "reach that point." 

He acknowledged Daniel Sturridge's display against Burnley, insisting that previously he had not played "that many games or minutes" but that it was "really good" for him to last the full 90 minutes at the weekend.

Klopp hailed the striker's performance in which he felt Sturridge was "physically really strong, always in the dangerous areas, [and] involved in pretty much everything."

"That's really good and he made a really good game," Klopp said of the "outstandingly good striker", insisting that while Liverpool came in for criticism for profligate finishing the boss himself cannot "give Danny a lot of tips on how he could score more often."