It’s been more than five years since the last time Liverpool visited Elland Road and they’ll be welcomed back by a full house for our third round League Cup tie. Few will be unaware of the history between the two clubs. Once upon a time we competed as arguably the two best sides in Europe, but whilst we plummeted to the depths of third division football, Liverpool continued to take the continent by storm picking up their fifth European Cup in 2005 and reaching a seventh final in 2007.

Team news
It’s doubtful Liverpool will risk too many key players for a League Cup clash. The club will be competing on four fronts this season as they look to add to their impressive collection of silverware, so you shouldn’t expect to see the likes of Steven Gerrard or Fernando Torres. That doesn’t mean Rafa Benitez isn’t taking the competition seriously. He’s already admitted he would like to reach the final again and right the wrongs of 2005, when a Steven Gerrard own goal cost them their eighth League Cup title.

Leeds meanwhile are unlikely to change too many faces from the side that beat Gillingham 4-1 on Saturday. If there are any changes, they’ll likely be in defence where Richard Naylor could make a welcomed return. Liverpool fan, Andy Robinson has told how he’d love to get on the pitch for the tie, but is unlikely to get anything more than a place on the subs bench.

Head to head
The last time Liverpool played at Elland Road was in our relegation season of 2003-04. The scoring was opened by Harry Kewell, who had now moved to Anfield. Eirik Bakke equalised a few minutes later though, before Mark Viduka fired us infront. Baros equalised for Liverpool just before halftime and the match finished 2-2.

In a season where we were struggling and the squad was being sold off to the highest bidder, the reverse fixture saw us slump to a 3-1 defeat. Infact, you have to go back all the way to the 2000/01 season to find the last time we beat Liverpool. That season, we beat them both home and away as Mark Viduka fired four past them at Elland Road, in what remains one of my favourite matches, and Rio Ferdinand and Lee Bowyer scored to give us a 2-1 victory at Anfield.

Overall, our record against Liverpool isn’t great. Of the 113 fixtures between the two sides, Leeds have won 27, drawing 30 and losing 56.

The League Cup
Liverpool have won the League Cup seven times, which is more than any other team. The last time they won it was at The Millenium Stadium in Cardiff, when they beat Manchester United 2-0 with goals from Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen.

Leeds have won the competition just once in 1968. Terry Cooper’s goal was enough to see Arsenal off and give Don Revie his first major trophy. Howard Wilkinson guided us to the final once more in 1996, but Leeds were beaten 3-0 by Aston Villa.

The managers
Simon Grayson banned the team from talking about the fixture right until the final whistle went at Gillingham. He admits that gaining promotion from League One is the priority, but has now turned his attention to Liverpool looking for a Premiership scalp to add to his impressive record at Elland Road. Speaking after the Saturday’s win he said;

“Being top of the league gives us a boost going into Tuesday’s game and a platform for the rest of the season. We will be judged on where we finish,

“They had to focus on beating Gillingham because the league is their bread and butter and they showed the right attitude.

“We are playing one of the best teams in the world on Tuesday but we will approach the game with a lot of confidence and belief.”

Meanwhile, Rafa Benitez told Sky Sports that he’s been watching DVD’s of Leeds and knows the fans will be right behind us.

“I believe the game will be a sell-out, and it is a surprise to me that Leeds find themselves in League One these days,

“Leeds will be difficult, we know they are a big club and we respect their history.

“I have been watching DVDs of their games and it is clear that their supporters are very important to them. They back their team all the time and make it tough for their opponents.

“Those fans are amazing, such loyalty and support, and that has been very apparent to me in watching tapes from last season.”

Rafa also added that “We know it will be tough. It is a massive club despite the division they are in.

 “I have no doubts that this will be a very difficult match. They have quality and they are a big club with great traditions.

“They will want to win this one because of the situation they find themselves in.”

Nice to know we haven’t been forgotten!

Can we win?
Whilst the realist in me isn’t convinced, the Leeds fan says ‘of course we can.’ Elland Road is a tough place to play for any team because of the crowd. Even with 7,000 Scousers cheering Liverpool on, they’ll still have to contend with 33,000 Leeds fans, which isn’t going to be easy for an inexperienced side (assuming that’s what they play). I guess the other thing in our favour is that we have nothing to lose. Win, lose or draw, the game will be a good money spinner for us and none of us expect to win the League Cup so being knocked out of it isn’t the end of the world.

Whatever happens, it should be a good night with an electric atmosphere. On and on…