It’s Nigel Pearson vs Juergen Klopp at The Pride Park on Tuesday, and with the mismatch of styles, there is surely be drama on the offing. Both Derby and Liverpool are expected to go hammer and tongs at each other, with the Rams perhaps taking a more literal approach with the football they play. The German is likely to instruct his team to expect a fight, with more than a sizeable bunch of their squad experiencing jelly legs over the exertions on Friday night vs Chelsea, and Derby may find themselves in a position of advantage.
While that could be the case, here are the three key battles the Rams must win to plough through the stiff opposition of Liverpool Football Club.
#1 James Wilson vs Ragnar Klavan
The talented 20-year-old loanee from Manchester United will have all the motivation he could possibly require to punch holes into Liverpool’s topmast which seemingly has all the wind, favourably, blowing their way. However, standing in his way will be the Baltic bastion, who goes by the name of Ragnar (RAAGNAAARR!) Klavan. The former Bundesliga centre-back has consolidated his reputation of being a hard-as-tacks centre-back for the better part of a decade, appareled with the cool, calculated refinement of a ball-playing defender. His combination of substance and style may be too much for young James to outmanoeuvre.
#2 Will Hughes vs Nathaniel Clyne
The former Liverpool target during the reign of Brendan Rodgers’, Will Hughes came within a touching distance of changing his white shirt of Derby with the red of Liverpool. The well-rounded central midfielder will have his task cut out for him, though, as he faces a nerveless, tireless, Nathaniel Clyne. That being said, his immaculate display against Chelsea would have taken a lot out of him, and there may be a case where the England international could be a few yards off the pace as the match continues. There may be chances for the taking, for Will Hughes to show Liverpool what could have been.
#3 Scott Carson vs Divock Origi
Scott Carson who played for Liverpool in the 2-1 quarter-final Champions League tie against Juventus, leading up to their fairytale 2005 final, would know all about athletically-gifted strikers bearing down on goal, coming up against David Trezeguet. In Divock Origi, Juergen Klopp has a similar ilk of a striker, pet project he could mold into one of the better centre-forwards in Europe. Blessed with pace and close control, his movement on and off the ball could be hardest to contend with, with his tendency to ghost by the far post, anticipating aerial balls.
Scott would have to keep half an eye on the ball and the other on ‘Big Div‘ Origi, when a cross is hurtling his way – chances are, the Belgian is as well.