Liverpool to blood teen Hobbs in Carling Cup?

September 25, 2007

Teenager Jack Hobbs is set to make his Liverpool debut tonight, in the Carling Cup third round match at Reading.

The 19-year-old, signed from Lincoln little more than a year ago, is expected to play in central defence - possibly alongside Jamie Carragher.

And Carragher said: 'Jack has done very well and we have been impressed with him in training.

'He came in from Lincoln and was a massive part of us winning the Youth Cup two years on the trot.

'Now he is captain of the reserves and he deserves his chance. That is what the club is about, giving young lads the chance to play alongside our foreign players.

'People sometimes complain about the amount of foreign players coming in, so it is good that a good English lad can get the chance to show what he can do.

'He deserves his chance, but that is up to the manager. Someone will be asked to play alongside him, but the lad might end up helping one of us through the game.

'Everyone needs help, no matter who they are. If he gets his chance, I am sure he will grab it and do well.'

Benitez wants to utilise several fringe players at Reading, but will not want to weaken the side to the extent that he could gift the tie to the Berkshire club.

It is also expected that Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva will figure in the tie, as well as winger Sebastian Leto.

The likes of Moroccan midfielder Nabil El Zhar, fit-again Fabio Aurelio and young defender Emiliano Insua could also be involved.

Benitez is also expected to include Yossi Benayoun, who missed Saturday's goalless draw with Birmingham because of the Jewish day of atonement.

Peter Crouch and even Fernando Torres, both on the bench against Birmingham, could also play.

But one player who will not figure is Steven Gerrard, who Benitez believes is paying the price for his recent outings with England.

Gerrard played in both European Championship qualifying wins over Israel and Russia, despite being a doubt with a broken toe.

The Spaniard said: 'His national team is England but it is clear that these players cannot play every game for 90 minutes.

'Gerrard was not 100% physically fresh, I don't mean fit but fresh.

'In these kind of games, you need to keep the tempo really high and if you play too many games in a row for 90 minutes, especially if you are not fit, then normally you have problems.'