25 Oct 2014

Possible LFC XI vs. Hull: BR to make huge €20m mistake? Surprise up-front?

It's all doom and gloom for Liverpool at the moment, right? Well, it depends on how you look at things. Yes, the club's start to the season is comparatively poor, but the Reds are still joint fourth in the table (two points ahead of both Arsenal and Spurs), which, given the circumstances, is actually quite encouraging. Hull City are up next, and it's another must-win game for LFC, and a golden opportunity to consolidate a place in the top four.

Forget the Real Madrid game; the Champions League is just an added bonus.

Like last year, the one and only goal this season is to finish in the top four, and despite a series of underwhelming performances, Liverpool are right on track to achieve that goal.

Indeed, after all is said and done, the club is only three points behind 2nd-placed Man City, and with the greatest respect, it's extremely unlikely that Southampton and West Ham will remain in the Champions League places for long.

It's absolutely vital that Liverpool win home games, and a victory over Hull will be a timely boost for club. As such, I'd like to see the following team start the game:

---------------- Mignolet

Manquillo - Skrtel -- Lovren ---- Moreno

---------------- Allen

--------- Hendo ------ Gerrard

--------------- Coutinho

--------- Sterling -- Balotelli

* Lovren and Skrtel kept a clean-sheet in the second half of the Madrid game. Okay, that may be clutching at straws a little, but I'll take it! The partnership is only going to improve if they keep playing together, so there's no point in changing things around. Just let Lovren and Skrtel build a rhythm and understanding together, and they'll come good

* I'm sure many fans expect Rodgers to drop Balotelli after the shirt-swap fiasco, but that is not a credible football decision. In my view, he played well against Madrid, and the shirt-swap things is utterly irrelevant in the context of whether he should start the next league game.

Plus, if Rodgers drops Balotelli, it will be bad man-management; the media will have a field day, and it will just fuel the spurious 'Balotelli on borrowed time' narrative currently being peddled by the tabloids. BR must surely aware of this, and if he still dumps him on the bench, it will be tantamount to throwing the striker to the wolves.

* The presence of Allen in the team made little difference against Madrid, but I'd still take him ahead of Emre Can, who has (IMO) shown nothing of note since arriving in the summer.

* Glen Johnson should make way for Manquillo. The Spanish youngster is the future, so blood him now, and let him build a rapport with Skrtel, Lovren, and Moreno.

Predicting a 2-0 victory for Liverpool, Reds legend Mark Lawrenson told the BBC:

"Although this Liverpool team is short of goals, they should have enough about them to get the three points".

In theory, yes, but that's not always the way it works out. On paper, Liverpool are the far superior team, and the team can't beat Hull City at home, then serious questions need to be asked about Rodgers' ability to prepare and motivate the players.

My prediction: 2-1 to LFC.

Author:



63 comments:

  1. Start Borini or Lambert for a change. I wonder how frustrated they feel seeing Balo start even after playing so poorly.

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  2. Or try 442 at home perhaps? I think Lallana deserves a start, plus if you want to start Ballotelli, he has said he is better with a partner up front, so maybe push Sterling up with him. Something has to change because we are in a completely false position in the table given the way we have played so far.

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  3. I really like the idea of a 4213 formation with Can and Henderson as the deepest 2 in the midfield as it offers mobility and cover for the defense.
    Also there is no need for Balotelli to cut inside it should suit him better have Lallana on the left and Sterling on the right.
    This formation will also most likely help the side to retain possession for longer periods of the game.

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  4. I didn't even finish reading this article because I was furious about jaime K's lack of football knowledge. I think Ballotelli was rubbish. Could have put sterling in on goal in the first 5 or 10 minutes and chose to go alone with 2 players on his back. He's done that consistently this season, he plays for himself not for the team. As for the comments on Joe Allen. I couldn't disagree more. I think Joe made a difference, we were playing an in form Madrid side and we have no strikers and are a bit less inventive than last season. I'm not worried about the Madrid games. What will be will be. Emre Can played well when he came on, he was actually a driving force through their midfield, so I don't know what jaime k expects to see from the 20 yr old but his expectation of this young talent is too high right now. Get Sturridge back and with the second half performance that I saw. We needed a bit of class and magic that Dan has in abundance. We'll come good. Believe.

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  5. Madrid kept a clean sheet in the game because they took their foot of the pedal. If They wanted to score 8 they could have easily done so. They have the Classico this weekend so it made sense to Ancelotti to take the 3 points in the first half and then take it easy in the second.

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  6. drop lovren ,put sako"don't know if available" colo and skertel , drop also johnson and play manquillo. play lallana with borinior lambert drop ballotelli

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  7. Sakho is injured. I would rather go with Toure and Lovren.

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  8. Lambert and Sterling as forwards with Phil behind them, Lallana instead of Allen, Manqui instead of Johnson, IF possible plz rest Gerrad(I know it aint gonna happen).....please no Balotelli I am tired of watching him play alone with himself

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  9. You forget Toure's many mistakes last season, he contributed to a couple of own goals.

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  10. We played Can and Henderson vs QPR as our holding midfielders and they killed us in the first half. Second half we switched to Gerrard as the deepest midfielder and two playing ahead of him. The change saw us actually cause problems for the QPR defence.

    Every time we have gone with 2 holding midfielders or 1 up front the team has forgotten how to play football. It really does not matter how many midfielders you want to stick in front of our defence. It won't going solve our problems of defending at set pieces. Skrtel and Lovren as a CB pair today will most likely see us concede more goals and if you add Johnson then it ain't going to help matters either.

    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

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  11. I think Can needs to play the DM role on his own with Hendo and Lallana in front of him. Thankfully, Rodgers seems to be likning the idea of Sterling up top so hopefully, tonight we finally get the two strikers we have been wanting. I think Can has to play. I remember Diame ripping us apart when he played for West Ham and we only won after he got injured. Can will not get bullied.

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  12. Skrtel scored the most own goals out of any defender in the league last season which is a record for any EPL season.

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  13. How about Lallana instead of Balotelli..he was linking up well with Sterling in the 2nd half of the Madrid game? I'd rather not start Balotelli for a must-win game. He'd just waste shots and lacks awareness of players around him with better scoring opportunities. Bring him on as a sub later on. Lambert should get a run-in.

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  14. I think it's probable we'll see Lambert at some point during the game, particularly if Hull pack the defence and are proving diffcult to break down. But Borini offers little to no threat whatsoever and starting him would be a backwards step, in my opinion; I'd infinitely rather see us stick with Balotelli and give him the time to prove his worth. Balotelli hasn't had the best start either, but he still possesses talents that Borini can only dream of

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  15. I worry about Allen in the deepest position. Teams tend to just have their big lad stand on him to win long balls. Not that that is too necessary as they can stand on Lovren instead, as seen against QPR. For the criticism Lovren has had not many people talk about how he us on the ball. Over the last few games hid passing accuracy had dropped to 84%. This is worrying and shows if your gate is not gangly people won't even notice you being bad on the ball. We have little choice but to persevere with him at the moment but he really needs to improve dramatically. Skrtel too seems to be continuing with his one good season one bad one.

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  16. Absolutely true. They were happy to just sit back.

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  17. I posted the following team yesterday but will have to make one change. Sakho is injured so replacing him with Lovren

    ----------------Mignolet-----------------
    Manquillo--Toure--Lovren--Moreno
    ----------------Gerrard------------------
    -------Hendo-----------Allen-----------
    ----------------Sterling------------------
    -------------------------Balotelli---------
    ----------Borini--------------------------

    I explained yesterday that in order for Balotelli to produce the goods you need a player supporting him in this case Sterling and another player ahead of Balotelli who can create space in this case Borini. That is how our attack and midfield lined up vs Spurs

    ----------------Gerrard------------------
    -------Hendo-----------Allen-----------
    ----------------Sterling------------------
    ------Balotelli----------------------------
    ------------------------Sturridge--------



    Now I am not saying Borini is going to cause havoc up front but he has mobility, will chase the ball and can create space for Sterling and Balotelli to score goals.

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  18. Mate, Borini is not even in the provisional squad to play Hull. So much for him fighting for his place. I really hope Lambert plays today.

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  19. Lambert has been awful whenever he has played. I said yesterday it is unlikely Borini will feature. If i had to choose between Lambert or Borini at this moment i would without a doubt go with Borini.

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  20. BR is freezing Borini out for refusing to leave so won't play even if we had no fit strikers- here's my new formation 1-10 cos that way Balo won't be all alone poor boy

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  21. I do not think so. He got into some good positions against WBA and started the passage for Lallana's goal. His decision making is really good and he knows when to pass and shoot. His mobility is an issue but if he is paired up with Sterling as hopefully is the case, he could cause problems. I would have preferred Borini but he is not in the squad so what can we do.

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  22. In the six games Lambert has featured, 129 minutes in total, Lambert has had a total of 3 shots at goal.

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  23. 129 minutes is barely more than one game. It is harsh to judge him on a few substitute performances and one proper game against WBA. He is PL proven and I think once he gets his first goal, things could change for him.

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  24. Rodgers is going to play one upfront vs Hull.

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  25. I think he is a player that needs games. He was dropped for Osvaldo but then when he got back in the starting line up his form was good. He is very slow though.

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  26. And that is the problem, Lambert is slow. We need pace and mobility up front but try telling Rodgers that when he has been sticking Balotelli up on his own most of the time.

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  27. Manquillo-Skrtel-Lovren-Moreno
    Gerrard
    Henderson-Lallana
    Coutinho
    Sterling-Balotelli

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  28. I suspect that he'll start Lambert up front in his own, which will totally screw with Hull's 3-at-the-back formation. Also, having 5 in midfield would be better to deal with Hull's preferred formation. I think something like this:
    ............................Mignolet
    Manquillo.......Skrtel.......Lovren.....Moreno
    .........................Allen
    ................................Gerrard
    ....Sterling............Coutinho.........Hendo
    ............................Lambert

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  29. From the Marid game I really noticed that Balo is not a team player. Not that I hadn't come to that conclusion before but I thought he'd raise his game for Real. He made selfish decisions, didn't put Sterling in when he could and when he did try to put him through he plays a ball that is difficult to get to then shouts at Sterling. He doesn't seem to evoke confidence in the team. That being said I'd play Gerrad Hendo Allen Coutinho, Sterling, Balo. Really the brave decision would be to play Lallana and drop Balo as I really feel that would be the better team.

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  30. and gave away a needless penalty vs middlesboro.he is finished.

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  31. lambert needs to be given the nod now. he has candidly said that he has tried too hard to impress, i can see that. he hasn't let his natural game flow. personally i looked at him and to me, he didn't really believe that he was entitled to be at the club, it was as if he almost didn't believe he should be there. give him a run in the side and the confidence will come back and the goals will come.

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  32. As was said earlier,I don't think it's a case of supporting Balotelli - he simply makes awful decisions, is not a team player and is not enough of a workaholic individual genius to get away with that.
    I've seen enough. I was dubious when he signed and thought I'd give him a chance but he is just poor.

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  33. whoever plays lone striker they are doomed to fail....whether be it lambert or borini or super mario. Rodgers is a bull-shit manager who haven't got a brain to understand such a simple issue.
    it surprise me how he became a football manager.

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  34. I can't believe I actually found someone who believes that Mario didn't play that bad against Madrid.

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  35. We all know the insanity bit but the diamond which you seem to favour has been ineffective at least 3 upfront may well improve our scoring potential as i said 3-2.

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  36. Has anyone read what BR is saying about not needing a defensive coach? He puts down our defensive frailties to lack of coaching time??????can your hear that noise ? That's me screaming

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  37. I think Lambert and Sterling can do a job together. Use Sterling's pace. With Lallana just behind you have a much better version of the Soto attack until Sturridge is back. That attack is enough for the teams we will be playing in the league Until Chelsea.

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  38. It was his best game for us. Still bad.

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  39. Spurs was his best game.

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  40. So much ego it doesn't even all fit in my span of vision

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  41. Look, I have nothing against Lambert but we are not going to flatten teams like we did last season by starting matches with Lambert. Lambert is more of a plan B or a option when we are cruising in matches.

    We need to start matches with the aim at winning not waiting for the opposition to score. Attack is the best form of defence for us. Our defence is not going to keep clean sheets so we need to score goals.

    Rodgers cannot grasp that plain and simple fact.

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  42. He is in denial . He got a top sports psychiatrist in when needed
    ( doesn't seem to be doing a very good job on Mario ) By the time he swallows his pride it will be too late ! Excuses - he couldn't sort things out last season when he had much more time !

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  43. Obviously we are in need of some help in the defending department but when your defenders cannot get the basics right, at this level they should not have to be taught the basics, then we have some serious problems.


    Sktrtel and Lovren probably will not even be picked for a non league side at the moment. That is how bad their defending has been.

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  44. I would play 3 or two upfront but 2 holding midfielders has not done us any good all season long. Not when we have played Gerrard/Lucas, not when we have played Gerrard/Henderson and not when we have played Can/Henderson.


    I think that is a good enough indication not to play two holding midfielders.


    The only times we have played the diamond this season was vs Spurs, our best performance of the season then vs West Ham when clever Rodgers picked a midfield consisting of Lucas and Gerrard and our latest match vs Madrid which we started really well until we conceded.

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  45. Skrtel and Lovren is only going to improve?


    As mentioned in an earlier post doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. That was according to Einstein but then what did he know about football?

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  46. Totally agree, he was terrible

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  47. We are not going to flatten teams le last season without Sturridge. There is not enough quality thete to do it. But in the mean time we need answers. Lambert can interplay, press intelligently and link up well with quick players around him.

    What is your solution to this problem?

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  48. It was ours but he was not all that.

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  49. Enemyofeverydisbeliever11:43 am, October 25, 2014

    Im seeing a very frustrating day. Hull arnt the best team to play against. Last time home we won two nil with two set pieces with both suarez sturridge on the field, and we all know what happened away to them. Sadly Im going for a draw with the hope of being dead wrong.. 2-2.

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  50. I have given a solution which is called pace.


    Stick Sterling at number ten, play Borini or even Markovic alongside Balotelli to create space for Balotell and Sterling to score like we saw vs Spurs.


    If we continue with the way we are currently playing then we are going nowhere.

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  51. Neither Markovic nor Borini are anywhere near the quality (currently) of Sturridge. Instead of utilising a potential relationship that Lambert and Lallana have we would gamble on a player who is really not performing working with another who is really not performing in any games we have seen them. Plus Borini isn't even that fast. We could still have Sterling's pace as well as Lallana's guile and work rate whilst getting Coutinho in the team on Form. It's moot but I really believe this is better than starting Borini or Markovic androgen subbing them off at fifty minutes.

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  52. I think Einstein is right in this instance :-)

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  53. i disagree about Borini, he played on the wing for most of his time at Sunderland and even remember the one match where he left Kompany in his dust. Markovic I reckon will be a menace up front if given the chance. He is a clever player but as we have seen on many occasions with many of our players, the price tag can be your biggest enemy.

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  54. It all reflects on Rodgers. He selected / coached the players last season , chose and spent the money on the replacements who supposedly had the basic skills needed and to carry out his strategies . Now he is up at 4.30 in the mornings trying to fathom where it all went wrong ! ! Balo drinking at last chance saloon this pm - 100 % more effort needed or benched until sold in Jan. otherwise he's going to be a bad influence on rest of team.

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  55. He left Kompany on the turn and was already in the box but yes that was good but not an example of great pace. Your ideas might be worth a go but I can't see it instantly clicking.

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  56. Well noting that we have done so far has been clicking. if we continue with the rubbish that is being served up at the moment then their is only one outcome i.e. rubbish.

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  57. Agreed, I think as frustrated as borini may be with Liverpool, this could be his moment to shine, he's hungry and has a point to prove, I'm not his biggest fan but tired of seeing Mario looking so disinterested and ruining our attacking momentum, he is sickening to watch, how he got this far in football is beyond me. C'mon Brendan lets grow a pair and give borini a chance can't do any worse.

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  58. I agree with your team apart from one.


    Yes ill say it again, Skirtel should never play again and they will never build a good partnership as he just cannot defend set pieces (its fine looking solid for 85 mins but then shipping one or two at corners puts far too much pressure on the guys at the top end trying to score goals) he has proven this over not one, not two but the last three years! He will continue to let us down. I know our option are limited in this position but anyone is better and when i say this i even mean toure!


    Anyway good luck lads... but when skirtel ships another one today having a fit underneath a cross or a corner ill be at home tearing the rest of my hair out again!!!

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  59. Agreed. My rationale is that Lallana may have a relationship already.

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  60. Lallana will probably fit in there somewhere so either Liverpool drop Allen and go all-out on attack or they drop Coutinho and go for a more controlled game. Happy for the manager to make the call because either option should be good for the win. I'd really be surprised to not see Lallana in the team. Can may be an option if Gerrard is to be deployed further up the field. However I think we shouldn't be surprised to see Stevie G on the bench for this one. He still has his own injury demons to deal with and the recovery time may not have been enough. It's also the perfect chance to see how the team plays without him.


    Balotelli will continue to be picked as long as he is doing the work during training. You're absolutely right, dropping him would be far too negative for the player and for the team. Once again I am reminded of Peter Crouch. Benitez stuck with him for a long time before it came good, this is a very similar situation. The player needs time and patience, even if the club don't seem to have it. And honestly there is just no point in dropping Mario now because who would replace him? Neither Borini not Lambert are viable long term options so until Sturridge is fully fit I expect Balotelli to start every game. It might never work, I think that's absolutely possible, and Mario might just continue to be a passenger through games until we buy another striker in January. But there is no point in just giving up, the club has to continue to try. At least that's what I believe.

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  61. Agree with you on the Borini thing. If Rodgers is to relent and let Mario play a bit deeper then he needs someone in front of him who can make the runs and draw defenders. Borini is good at that, if nothing else. He makes great runs and works very hard to be a target for his supporting attacking players.

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