Chelsea v Liverpool FC Preview: Lucas Leiva desperate to keep Carling Cup ... - Liverpool Echo

Leiva Lucas, Liverpool

LIVERPOOL FC have become accustomed to doing things the hard way in the Carling Cup this season.

From negotiating tricky trips to Exeter City and Brighton to breaking their Britannia Stadium hoodoo with a dramatic late victory over Stoke City.

The road to Wembley has been long and winding but those previous hurdles were cakewalks compared to the challenge facing Kenny Dalglish's men at Stamford Bridge tonight.

Not only do they face a Chelsea side desperate for revenge after Glen Johnson's memorable strike secured maximum points against his old club in West London nine days ago.

But Liverpool must do battle just 48 hours after an energy-sapping contest with Premier League leaders Manchester City at Anfield.

Circumstances have conspired against the Reds. The Metropolitan Police ruled that with Tottenham in Europa League action against POAK Salonika coupled with a TUC march in the capital, the tie couldn't be played tomorrow.

To Liverpool's disgust, their request to the Football League to have the game delayed until the next available date in January was rejected by the competition organisers.

The Premier League then ruled out the possibility of moving the Reds' league clash with City back to the Saturday.

A furious Dalglish branded the schedule "disgraceful" and there's no question Chelsea have been handed a sizeable advantage. Andre Villas-Boas' side, who cruised to a 3-0 home win over Wolves on Saturday, have benefited from an extra day's rest.

But Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva isn't in the mood to look for excuses.

The manager is set to ring the changes tonight with the likes of Andy Carroll, Maxi Rodriguez, Sebastian Coates, Jamie Carragher, Jay Spearing and Martin Kelly expected to start.

However, Lucas, who was the Reds' outstanding performer against Manchester City, is hoping his services will be retained.

The Brazilian international is desperate to play his part in ensuring Liverpool remain on course for a trip to Wembley on February 26.

"As the manager has said, it's a bit unfair that we have so little time between the two games," Lucas said.

"No-one will be fresh for the Chelsea game, that's for sure, but we will do our best to get ready for it.

"We have a very good staff and they will do everything they can to ensure we are at 100% for the next game.

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29 Nov, 2011

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