x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Suarez set for League Cup comeback at United

Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet believes Uruguay striker's return will give Liverpool lift in third-round match.

Luis Suarez was handed a 10-match suspension after biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last season. Mal Fairclough / AFP
Luis Suarez was handed a 10-match suspension after biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last season. Mal Fairclough / AFP

MANCHESTER // English football will welcome back Luis Suarez this week when the trouble-prone Liverpool striker returns from a 10-game suspension against Manchester United in the Capital One Cup third round.

The Uruguay international was banished to the sidelines by the English Football Association after biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in a league game last April, but he served the final game of his ban in Liverpool’s 1-0 loss at home to Southampton on Saturday.

The shock defeat ended Liverpool’s unbeaten start to the season and saw them concede top spot in the Premier League, but goalkeeper Simon Mignolet says that with Suarez back on board, the team will respond in the correct manner at United on Wednesday.

“We’ve got another game on Wednesday, when we can put things right straight away. I think it’s a perfect scenario to get back to it,” the Belgian told the Liverpool website.

“Luis Suarez is coming back, which can maybe give us a lift. So we’ve got positives to look forward to.”

Suarez is certain to receive a hostile reception at Old Trafford due to his feud with United left-back Patrice Evra, which saw him banned for eight games for racial abuse in December 2011.

United are also desperate for a positive performance, having been dealt a demoralising 4-1 defeat by Manchester City in Sunday’s derby.

United were without Robin van Persie due to a groin strain, but manager David Moyes suggested the Dutch striker could return to face Liverpool.

“I don’t think it’s that bad,” Moyes told reporters after the defeat at the Etihad Stadium.

“We thought he was going to make it [against City], and he just felt something in his groin. He actually did a little bit of training the last couple of days.

“But he didn’t want to aggravate it, and we took that decision [not to play him].”

Chelsea ended a run of four games without victory by beating Fulham on Saturday and will expect to reach round four in the League Cup with a victory at third-tier Swindon Town on Tuesday.

Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, has challenged Juan Mata to prove he is worthy of a starting place after the Spanish midfielder was not even included in the match-day squad for the 2-0 win over Martin Jol’s side.

“Tuesday, of course he plays from the beginning against Swindon,” said Mourinho, who won the League Cup twice in his first spell at Chelsea.

“The people who didn’t play [against Fulham] are going to play: Juan and David Luiz and Michael Essien, [Ryan] Bertrand, and [Cesar] Azpilicueta.

“And I hope he (Mata) tells me on the pitch, ‘You are wrong, I am the best, and I have to play every game.’”

Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, the North London rivals, level on points at the top of the Premier League, both face ties against top-flight opposition in mid-week.

Spurs visit Aston Villa on Tuesday, with Arsenal travelling to West Bromwich Albion the following night.

In the only other all-Premier League match-ups, Fulham host Everton and Cardiff City visit West Ham United – a repeat of the opening-day league fixture that saw West Ham win 2-0.

Holders Swansea City begin their defence of the trophy at second-tier Birmingham City, while Manchester City face a home game against last season’s FA Cup winners, Wigan Athletic.

Fixtures (10.45pm start unless stated)


Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur

Burnley v Nottingham Forest

Fulham v Everton (11pm)

Hull City v Huddersfield Town

Leicester City v Derby County

Manchester City v Wigan Athletic

Southampton v Bristol City

Sunderland v Peterborough United

Swindon Town v Chelsea

Watford v Norwich City

West Ham United v Cardiff City


Birmingham City v Swansea City

Manchester United v Liverpool

Newcastle United v Leeds United

Tranmere Rovers v Stoke City

West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal (11pm)