26 Nov 2014

Possible LFC XI vs Ludogorets: €20m star out; BR to make drastic changes again, or stick with Palace flops?

The crunch games just keep on coming, and after losing to Crystal Palace over the weekend - the club's fifth defeat in seven games - the Reds desperately need a a victory over Ludogorets to stay in the Champions League.

The chance of FC Basel beating Real Madrid is slim, so a win for Liverpool will put the club right back in contention for the second round, which surely has to be a huge incentive for the players.

On paper, Liverpool are superior to Ludogorets, but the Reds struggled to beat the Hungarian side at Anfield, so there are no guarantees.

Rodgers claims LFC will go into tonight's game with 'big motivation', but he's conceded that the Reds face a very tough game. Last night, he told reporters:

"We have a lot of respect for Ludogorets. The game at Anfield was very tough - they're an offensive team that likes to go forward. At the weekend, [they drew] 1-1 with CSKA Sofia at the top of the table, so that was a good result for them away from home"

After the Crystal Palace debacle, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher accused the Reds of being mentally weak, and Ludogorets coach Georgi Dermendzhiev agrees with that assessment. He told reporters:

"I kind of agree with that opinion. It looks that way in every Liverpool game this season - and I have watched every one. Liverpool have very high quality players and the only problems they have are in the minds of the players"

€20m summer signing Mario Balotelli will miss the game through injury, which almost certainly means that Rickie Lambert will start his second game in a row, and since he's the only LFC striker with a Premier League goal this season, it makes sense to keep him in the side. Probable line-up:

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

Johnson ----- Skrtel - Lovren ----- Moreno

------------ Gerrard - Allen

Hendo -------- Sterling ------- Coutinho

-------------- Lambert

* I personally believe the club's first-choice central defensive partnership (Skrtel/Lovren should play every game, but there's a chance that Toure may come back into the team. He played well against Real Madrid in the last game, and the slower pace of European football may suit him.

* Rodgers rested Moreno at Palace, so it seems likely that he'll come back into the team.

* Lallana and Lambert work well together, and after his excellent assist on Sunday, the England man could get the nod over Coutinho.

There's also a strong chance that Rodgers may follow the Madrid template and make wholesale changes once. Just like then, Liverpool go into tonight's game on the back of a bad defeat, and the likes of Gerrard, Allen, Johnson et al did nothing against Crystal Palace to deserve a place in the team.

After the storm of criticism last time, though, I doubt that will happen. My prediction: 2-2

Author:



49 comments:

  1. Well i cant wait for Sakho to get fully fit Lovren has been absolutely dire Lovren will not be first choice much longer.
    I hope Lambert can get on the scoresheet he was pretty poor after scoring on the weekend.I predict a 1-1 draw.

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  2. I am a big fan of B R but he needs to be honest with himself now - he has acted ARROGANTLY - insisting on playing Stevie G out of position and continuing all season with this lone striker crap - the Stevie G role is making the centre backs confused and its really embarrassing - it will cost B R his job - Carra was right in what he said and 99 per cent of LFC supporters agreed with him - so again B R accept it like a man and change your tactics starting tonight by playing players where they belong - its that simple - YOU HAVE TO LISTEN B R - the people have spoken and despite John Henrys support - deep down he must be getting really impatient with the rubbish - without any passion - football you have managed this season - I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST TONIGHT - BUT - PLEASE LISTEN - THE CLOCK IS TICKING FASTER THAN EVER

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  3. Toure deserves another start. He was the best player against Madrid, and was then dropped. I know he probably doesn't quite have the legs to cope with the Prem right after a mid week game, but surely a tired Toure is better than a dodgy Lovren/Skrtel right now? (not that he should be tired now)

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  4. Jamie - Tell you what would be interesting - I looked at LFC last season and was convinced we moved the ball faster than any other team - this season I am convinced we move it slower than any other team - its not possession that counts but the speed you play at

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  5. The centre backs will improve instantly if we move Stevie G 30 yards up the field

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  6. toure hasn't got the legs to cope with the prem, but neither has Lovren.. hes one of the slowest defenders i've seen for a while. toure fills me with more confidence than skrtel/lovren

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  7. I find it amusing that every time Sakho is in the midst of playing games, people bag him ad nauseum, but then every time he's injured, people can't wait for him to recover...

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  8. I dont think thats true, Toure had the legs to match Christiano Ronaldo stride for stride. The reason Toure isnt playing right now is because BR is content on going down with his ship whilst playing the violin and clanging cymbal's of his inner thighs. The longer he plays Skrtel the more BR cooks in his own juices.

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  9. People think because he looks ungainly hes crap but thats far from the truth and id say his worst game last season was better than Lovrens best.

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  10. He is a starting centre back for France. He's not the problem. Rodgers and (arguably) Mignolet are.

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  11. You can't even think of Lovren's best game so far. Every performance has been a consistent 3/10. A true one season wonder. His defending is about as good as Aspas' corner last season against Chelsea.

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  12. Why persist with two defensive midfielders with one being Gerrard ? It hasn't worked all season and doesn't look like working. A midfield three of Allen sat behind Henderson and Can is much more combative and defensively sound.

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  13. Really i dont know which but as you say he hasn't played any.

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  14. Skrtel and Lovren to play every game? I'm not sure about that. Newcastle's form has recently improved since they moved their left back Dummet into central defence. All of a sudden they are keeping clean sheets. We have enough players to come up with an answer but we are showing no imagination what so ever. Our form changed last season when Gerrard was injured against Norwich if memory serves me correctly. Allen came in alongside Henderson with Lucas playing DM. It was THEN and only then that BR realised the team pressed the opposition far greater when Gerrard DIDN'T play as a conventional center mid. Up until Gerrard's injury and conversion to DM our play was stuttered and lacked fluency because SG wasn't pressing. Switching SG therefore was not a stroke of genius by BR it was extremely fortuitous. This season SG has stopped running in the DM role too so but that's another matter

    My point? If we keep persisting with things that dont work we should expect things not to work. We are better and have far more options than that.

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  15. Wouldn't that be ironic? If Sakho came in and sorted out our defence? I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you though. I think young Rossiter should be given a go at DM tonight. Rossiter and Allen - Sterling Gerrard Lallana in front of them and Borini up front. See how that works

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  16. How can there be any argument to not drop at least on of the CBs. Enough time has passed and Lovren looks shaky on the ball and is very prone to mistakes. Skrtel has just been Skrtel but without as many last ditch challenges papering over the cracks sorry chasms in his game. Skrtel needs dropping so he has to fight for his place again and Lovren needs dropping to get his head right. Both need a leader and so Toure is a must.

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  17. Allen was one of the few players to come out of the Palace game with any credit.Was a goal scored with him on the pitch? Cout two had a go against Palace and did quite a bit off the ball. Gerrard and Johnson should certainly be dropped.

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  18. I'd play Hendo and Lucas instead of Gerrard and Allen, and bring Lallana in on the right.

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  19. I've never really understood all the hate for him. Sure he had made a few mistakes but what defender hasn't?
    I don't think he has ever really cost Liverpool a lot at a crucial time?

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  20. And 30 yards to the right. I'm a massive Stevie fan, but he should be benched for a bit until he gets his mojo back.

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  21. I do think there is more to our defensive woes than the talent but i do rate Sakho above Lovren.
    I always like to see the young talent given a run Rossiter does look promising but can only see S.G played in an attacking role as a sub or only for a half.

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  22. My Team
    Mignolet
    Manquillo-Toure-Lloyd Jones/Skrtel if Jones if not there-Moreno
    Lucas
    Can-Lallana
    Coutinho
    Borini-Lambert

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  23. I honestly think Skrtel believes football is a division of pro wrestling. I have never seen a player grapple and pull other players half as much as skrtel does.

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  24. need to drop gerrard but rodgers will not drop his landlord!!!!!!

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  25. How Skrtel is still making the staring eleven smacks of ineptness on behalf of our manager.

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  26. In my mind I have Aston Villa, but you could be right with Norwich, too. Who really knows but that's besides the point. I distinctly remember Gerrard running forward and having a shot and he pulled his hammy or something, and has been played in defensive midfield ever since. In an attacking sense it did benefit the team but the defensive issues were always going to be present. This season, Gerrard isn't even contributing going forward and his defensive efforts are far more abysmal than last season. In my mind he is simply no longer required. I've argued this for a year now.


    I don't think you're right about Rodgers realising it though. If he sees the problems and persists with Gerrard it's negligent management and he is getting punished with results. If Rodgers doesn't see it, I think it's because he's too stubborn and caught up in his own philosophical ideas that no longer work. I can't envisage this team doing much defensive work on the training ground...

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  27. Tge same people who criticise Sakho rate Skrtel. They can't spit a good defender.

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  28. Manquilo Toure anyone Moreno
    ---------Allen Hendo
    -----------Gerrard
    Lallana-------------Sterling
    -----------Lambert

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  29. He cant mate he is about to become unemployed and doesn't want to be homeless as well.

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  30. The true test of any manager / coach in any sport is the ability to be flexible and find answers when the teams struggling.
    At the moment Rodgers really doesn't have any answers i am beyond the stubborn theory.

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  31. Or Mignolet
    Skrtel.....Toure.
    Johnson... Moreno
    ......Can
    Hendo....
    Coutinho...... ......Sterling
    Borini......Lambert

    A team that can press, hold and not relying on a lone striker or static Gerrard providing long balls. If Rodgers would even try dropping that static holding role to allow more pressing from midfield...and drop the lone striker in favour of a partnership that can link up with midfield. Of course you could change Hendo/Can with Lallana/Allen etc, just a thought but he should try it imo.

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  32. The Team B Rodgers should play tonight and for next few weeks if they were to do well is: But change Toure(33) for Sakho(24) when he is back fit:


    Mignolet
    Manquillo Toure Lovren Moreno


    Allen
    Can Lallana

    Coutinho


    Lambert Sterling

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  33. I think that's more a result of the shambolic displays from those taking his place

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  34. Leaving Lambert alone up top is a recipe for disaster. There needs to be 2 strikers. We have demonstrated quite clearly that one doesn't work because nobody else wants to score thus making one striker easy to neutralize.

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  35. If everyone is fit


    Mignolet
    Manquilo Toure Sakho Moreno
    Coutinho Can Henderson
    Sterling
    Borini Lambert (or Markovic for either Borini or Lambert)


    Pace and mobility from back to front.


    No Johnson, Skrtel, Lovren or Stevie please.

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  36. 100% agree. The only striker capable of leading our attack is Sturridge. We need to play 2 up top.

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  37. looks good to me dude

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  38. If Johnson NEVER plays for us again it'll be too soon

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  39. Except anyone part. Wish Sakho was fit..

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  40. No Sterling for me and Lallana instead of him. Sterling needs rest and we should have the players to make up for it and Brendan has to do it one point or another. I do not think Sakho is in the squad so if he is not, Lloyd Jones and if he is not then only will I risk it with Skrtel.

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  41. It wouldn´t be the worse thing in the world if he would need to be subbed after a half. As for Rossiter, I think this kid would at least give 100% and would die before he´d let someone get past him. Sometimes you just need to give them a chance when your senior players are not bringing the goods. And then if they perform, you can sell your senior player which makes a lot more sense than releasing 12 youngsters every summer.

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  42. Just read that Sakho has not traveled with the squad. Only returned to training yesterday.


    Would rather play Lovren ahead of Skrtel in that case.

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  43. But then we'd miss out on moments like this

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  44. I might also play Lucas instead of Hendo. He looked solid against madrid and should get another chance to prove himself.

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  45. embed fail. apologies.

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