25 September 2007


Rafa Benitez will spring a Carling Cup surprise by including Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher in his squad for Tuesday's third-round tie at Reading.
The Liverpool manager was expected to follow the pattern of recent seasons and field a severely weakened side.

Instead, he included three of his biggest names in the squad that travelled south on Monday.
Torres could make a surprise start against Reading.

Although all three could start on the bench, it still added substance to Benitez's claim that he is taking the competition seriously, after years of using it as a means of giving Anfield's untried youngsters some first team experience.
'We want to go as far as possible in the Carling Cup, that is for sure,' he said. 'How we go about it is the question. If we have a squad that is good enough to fight for four trophies then perfect. And I believe we have reached that stage now.
'I don't like to experiment and it is possible I will use a team full of senior players.'
New signing Charles Itandje accepts he has little chance of dislodging goalkeeper Pepe Reina but is hoping Benitez sticks to his usual policy of promoting his reserve keeper for Carling Cup games.
'We have a very good keeper who has been here three years,' said the 25-year-old Frenchman. 'I am clearly going to be No 2 but there are 60 matches a season and it is planned that I will play the League Cup and FA Cup.'
Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp will put his 'terrific squad' theory firmly to the test on Tuesday when he makes changes for his side's tie at Burnley.
Redknapp made nine changes in personnel for the 3-0 victory over Leeds in the previous round from the side that lost 1-0 at Chelsea three days previously.
Matt Taylor, David Nugent, Noe Pamarot and Benjani Mwaruwari — all on the bench at Ewood Park — can expect to start, as well as Pedro Mendes, Richard Hughes and Arnold Mvuemba.
'You look at us now and we are a strong-looking team,' said Redknapp. 'You look at the back four and I honestly wouldn't swap them for any other in the country.'

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