Thursday night’s match at the Etihad will be both side’s first competitive fixture since the World Cup, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.
Both clubs have a strong recent history with the competition, with reigning champions the Reds visiting the Citizens who have won five of the last seven cups.
In addition, the fierce rivalry between them should make this an exciting game, but Liverpool legend Barnes isn’t so sure, citing both the impact of the World Cup on the players and the status of the Cup itself.
‘They will both want to win the game but it’s not a Premier League match or an FA Cup semi-final,’ he told BonusCodeBets.
‘I don’t think either team will go out with their strongest available side due to the World Cup just finishing and maybe prioritising other competitions.
‘The Carabao Cup won’t be top of Liverpool’s priorities. They’re still in all the other competitions. But they will still try to win every match that they play in.
‘Liverpool want to focus on winning the league. If they can’t win the league then it’ll be the Champions League and if it’s not the Champions League it’ll be the FA Cup. If they can’t win any of those then they’ll want to win the Carabao Cup.’
Both Guardiola and Klopp are somewhat limited in who they can pick for Thursday night, with World Cup finalists Julian Alvarez and Ibrahima Konate yet to return from Qatar.
However, with the Premier League’s return just days away, any if not all of the 23 City and Liverpool players who went to the finals, will very likely to be rested, including the likes of Phil Foden and Virgil van Dijk.
That means that star players like Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah may be playing alongside youngsters, but Barnes thinks this will be a great test for Klopp’s upcoming crop of talent.
‘Klopp has always given young players an opportunity to play in the past,’ he added.
‘He may not play six or seven academy players but Klopp has always believed in the Liverpool academy. You also have to remember that Harvey Elliott and Carvalho are both still young players despite being first team squad members.’
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