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Murphy: Depleted Liverpool still favourites in Carabao Cup final
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Cian Cheesbrough
Liverpool are without a number of first-team stars
Liverpool are without a number of first-team stars

Danny Murphy insists Liverpool remain favourites in the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea despite their current injury crisis.

Influential stars Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez are both doubts for Sunday's Wembley showpiece, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson, Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota among the players definitely ruled out.

And with Chelsea coming into the game on a high after two wins and a draw in all competitions, even Jurgen Klopp himself has admitted the Blues might have the upper hand.

But former Reds midfielder Murphy disagrees, telling LiveScore: "I still make Liverpool favourites mainly due to their consistency over the season — they rarely lose games.

"You don't know which Chelsea are going to turn up. We've seen them play really well against Manchester City twice and then lose at home to Wolves.

"The final on Sunday, you just don't know which way that's going to go for some of those younger players who haven't experienced it before.

"Liverpool are more experienced in these situations as a group so that makes them favourites.

"But I do understand Chelsea's recent form is something Liverpool's fans and players wouldn't have wanted to see.

"It'll be a good game, I don't see it being as one-way as the recent 4-1 win for Liverpool at Anfield."

Squad game

The injury-ravaged Reds named their youngest starting XI since February 2018 on Wednesday as they came from a goal down to beat Luton 4-1.

Forwards Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo both netted in Salah and Co's absence and Murphy is delighted to see so many members of Klopp's squad stepping up and contributing.

The 46-year-old — who lifted the League Cup with Liverpool in 2003 — added: "Every time there's an injury, it's an opportunity for someone else to shine.

Danny Murphy won the League Cup with Liverpool in 2003
Danny Murphy won the League Cup with Liverpool in 2003

"I think the best example of that has probably been Conor Bradley's emergence.

"What an unbelievable impact he's had as a young player coming in when most people were in turmoil over the fact Trent was going to be out. Then all of a sudden, nobody's talking about it.

"With it being such an important game, it would be nice to have Nunez and Salah back because Liverpool's success this season has been about rotating those five wonderful attacking players.

"All five of them are over 10 goals now this season which is some doing.

"Although there are injuries at the moment it's still so positive, the club is in a good position again."

Supporters' choice

Former midfielder Xabi Alonso is being tipped as Jurgen Klopp's successor
Former midfielder Xabi Alonso is being tipped as Jurgen Klopp's successor

Sunday's showpiece in the capital is Klopp's first of four chances to win silverware in his final season with the Reds as the legendary German prepares to leave at the end of the season.

Speculation over who will replace the 56-year-old in the Anfield dugout continues and while Murphy admits there is no perfect successor for the Kop icon, there is one candidate who stands out.

He added: "If you want to find someone who's got everything Klopp has got, you're going to struggle.

"Xabi Alonso ticks many boxes. He is a talented young coach, he's got a great affinity with Liverpool supporters and plays football the right way.

"Apparently Bayern Munich are after him as well. He's obviously a former player there too but I think he's got more of a connection to Liverpool supporters.

"I just find it difficult to think you could turn Liverpool down but maybe that's me being brought up a mad Liverpool fan!"


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