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Preston vs Liverpool - League Cup 4th Round.

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                                                                  Preston North End v Liverpool, Wednesday 27th/10  (19:45)

                                                                                     League Cup 4th Round

                                                                    Ref. David Coote
                                                                    Assistants Nick Hopton and Wade Smith
                                                                    Fourth Official : John Brooks

After the Lord Major’s show eh !!!!

Every club in England has history, their own cache of stories, of characters, fabled journeys of triumph and mostly failure. These tales breed loyalty, fascination, they inspire imagination. Preston North End are one such club. The name itself is kind of epic in a "great British western of the northlands” kind of way. Grey trench coats, flat caps, rattles, fags and very occasionally rosettes. Back in the days where everything was monochrome.

Take yourself back to the season 1953-54, post war, probably miserable. That was the last time Liverpool and PNE spent a season in the top flight together.

Liverpool trudged through a difficult season to storied grounds up and down the country, losing. From Roker and Ayresome Park to The Valley and Fratton park. From Ninian Park across to Bramall Lane. Closer to home they battled the Manchester clubs and a bunch of perennial division 1 stalwarts rung around Liverpool and the Northwest. Burnden Park in Bolton, Burnley’s Turfmoor, Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road and Deepdale home of the twice league champions, three time FA Cup winners and founder member of English Leagues, Preston North End. Liverpool themselves had 5 major honours to their name at that stage. They were clubs of equal stature.

Nat Lofthouse, Stan Mortenson, Stanley Matthews, all renowned footballers of that generation played for those Northern powerhouses. Burnley had one James Milner playing for them (I kid you not). Preston themselves had the services of Jimmy Baxter, famous Scottish footballer as well as Tom Finney one of the all-time greats and Tommy Docherty who excelled both on the field and off of it in years to come. (!)

Wolves won the league that season, West Brom the Cup. Liverpool came bottom of the league and slipped down to Division 2 where they languished until an no-nonsense, passionate, hard headed Scot ,who spent his career at Preston North End, arrived on Merseyside to revive and reconstruct Anfield and The Reds. Bill Shankly was his name.

Thank you Preston. You had a major hand in making us who we are.

Being Irish, (from Cork), Preston of today also interest me as the recently deceased owner, Eddie Hemmings, came close to buying my local club Cork City I believe. (He was also the owner of Trabolgan Holiday Village in east Cork). Current Irish international, Seanie Maguire, who plays up front for Preston was a central figure in the last Cork City team to win the League Of Ireland in 2017. He was a class apart as City won their first 17 competitive games that season. (There you go !!). He’s generally off the bench here along with fellow Irishman Greg Cunningham. Alan Browne, also a current Irish international was their captain in their latest match, a 2-0 defeat to Blackpool.
Ex-Liverpool Centre half and Irish international Mark Lawrenson is a Preston lad and fan, as is 100 Irish caps, Kevin Kilbane.

Preston and Liverpool have been trading centre halves of late. Ben Davies came our way and made quite an impression on the physio’s couch before heading off to Bramall Lane while Sepp Van Den Berg has been playing regularly at right back for them.

Preston are having a balanced season in the Championship. Last 10 games have been 2 wins, 2 losses and 6 draws. They are averaging just a goal a game though they have scored 4 in both previous rounds of the League Cup. They are amongst the lowest wage bills in the league and are perhaps in a spot of bother now, with Hemmings departed and the PNE frontman being none other than the infamous Peter Ridsdale (just ask any Leeds supporter).

Having a look at the fans reactions to Saturday’s defeat they are a bit miserable and negative but hey, we know how that goes and we win mostly.

We all know how we’ve been doing so  probably the big question is who is going to play ?

Well Nabi ain’t. Neither is James Milner, nor Thiago, Harvey Elliott or Fabinho either I suspect. Liverpool’s midfield takes over from the Centre Half slaughter of last season. So who do we have left ?

       Kelleher (From Cork !),
Neco, Konaté, Gomez, Tsimikas,
Morton, Jones and Ox,
Taki, Divvie and Kaide Gordon

I reckon this is a good shout. One thing, I heard there are now 5 subs so I wonder if we mightn’t see a couple of the youngsters on the bench at the very least. I think Preston will give us more of a game than the headless numpties we played yesterday. They’ll be solid and workmanlike but that’s about it I think.

The capacity, I believe, will be 22,000. There will be a big Reds contingent travelling to Deepdale, just like the old days. I like the ground, steep terraces. It should be great craic and a decent night out for all concerned. Win and we’re in the last 8, for a change.

Finally, a real opponent.

[new username under construction]:
A fair few youngsters would be nice, although it'll probably wreck the U23's tonight

Gordon's been out injured for a few weeks so would be surprised if he starts

The G in Gerrard:
Can we risk Jones and Oxlade depending on Fabinho's & Keita's injury?


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