2 Dec 2014

LFC XI vs. Leicester: Shock debut for exciting youngster? BR to drop £66m trio?

After three straight Premier League defeats, Liverpool got back to winning ways over the weekend with a hard-fought victory over Stoke City. The win brings the Red to within five points of fourth place, another win tonight against Leicester City will be a welcome boost in the pursuit of a coveted Champions League place.

Irrespective of the club's current form, most fans will surely agree on one thing: anything but a victory against the bottom club in the league is unacceptable.

Leicester's entire first team cost less than Adam Lallana (!), and on paper, Liverpool's squad is streets when it comes to overall quality/top-flight experience.

Nothing can - or should - be taken for granted, though; as we've seen many times before, the so-called 'lesser' teams are more than capable of beating the big-boys, so Liverpool will undoubtedly have to fight hard to secure the victory.

There are several key issues for Rodgers to address with this game:

* Gerrard: Keep him on the bench, or put him back in the starting line-up?
* Toure: Does he retain his place at the expense of Lovren?
* Moreno: Will he be on the bench for the fourth game in a row?
* Signings: Will Rodgers leave £88m worth of summer buys on the bench again?

In my view, there's absolutely no reason to change a winning team, and Lucas, Toure et al should all keep their places as a reward for arresting the Reds' Premier League slump.

Lucas and Toure, especially, must keep their places. Rodgers always goes on about picking players on merit; well, it will be a gargantuan man-management faux-pas to drop those two after their creditable performances against Stoke. If that means Gerrard and Lovren have to miss out again, then so be it.

Clean sheets are priceless at the moment, and although it wasn't pretty, Liverpool won the game, which is all that matters. Additionally, Leicester are (arguably) a worse team than Stoke, so there's no compelling reason to change things.

I doubt Rodgers has the balls to drop Gerrard for two games in a row. He made it clear over the weekend that he merely 'rested' the captain, so he basically made a rod for his own back. Who 'rests' the club captain for two games in a row? Keeping Gerrard on the bench again will send a signal that he's actually been dropped, and Rodgers won't do that.

If someone has to make way for Gerrard, then it should be Joe Allen, or even Coutinho (with Gerrard playing the number 10 role), but definitely not Lucas.

There's also the possibility that Rodgers may feel under pressure to play some of his new signings - keeping £88m worth of talent on the bench sends a signal that the manager basically doesn't trust his summer signings, which - by extension - reflects badly on Rodgers' performance in the transfer market.

I hope to see the Stoke team start, but I have a feeling we may see the following:

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

Johnson --- Toure - Skrtel --- Moreno

---------- Gerrard - Lucas

-- Henderson - Sterling -- Lallana

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

It also appears that Academy youngster Sheyi Ojo has travelled to Leicester with the first-team squad, which opens up the possibility of a place on the bench, or even a shock debut as a sub:



Ojo recently grabbed two goals for the England U18s, so maybe this is his reward for that?

Predicting a 2-1 win for Liverpool, Reds legend Mark Lawrenson told the BBC:

"Liverpool seem to be heading in the right direction. Leicester ended their 504-minute goal drought in their 3-2 defeat by QPR on Saturday but, for every step forward, they seem to take two back"

With 8 games without a win, Leicester will be desperate to get a result, and that will make things very difficult for Liverpool. The Foxes will be fighting for their lives, and in that kind of situation, anything is possible.

My prediction: 2-3

Author:



47 comments:

  1. I agree. Those who won the game against Stoke should play. Although I think the clean sheet had more to do with Stoke than with us

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  2. It would be great to see Ojo given some time on the field with the "big boys". He's quite talented...

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  3. I'm not expecting anything from this current side.
    Seriously the way we are playing at the moment and the odd team selections, nothing is certain.


    Jaimie, when are you going to do a article about the 'Transfer Committee' at Liverpool?

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  4. for me, the first eleven vs Stoke should retain against leicester, SG start from the bench...maybe can start borini to replace coutinho...

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  5. I have no problem with the team you outlined above. Moreno is important to give pace out wide and Lucas absolutely should keep his place. Rodgers is finally talking about using a "different kind of midfield player" and recognising that Gerrard is simply not a good option when we're not scoring 100 goals a season. I'm glad he made that clear. Gerrard is good going forward, he's still very effective in that kind of creative role and when we were scoring goals for run his defensive issues could be absorbed. We scored more goals than we conceded. Now that's no longer occurring Gerrard is clearly a defensive liability, he can't break up play and do all the things we know Lucas does so well. It's a small change in how we play but that's not to say that Lucas is useless at passing the ball, he's not.


    Toure is embarrassing his more fancied (and more expensive) team mates. Long may it continue. If he can stay fit then he should play every game until either Lovren or Sakho prove themselves a reliable alternative. It doesn't matter how much they cost, they can sit on the bench until they are good enough, and they should be mentally strong enough to come through that.


    I suspect Lucas will start and play the deep role with Gerrard in a free-form roving midfield role or in the 10 spot. Henderson cleans up the scraps. It's then just a question of Lallana or Coutinho on the left side of a front three. Overall it's a team that, on top form, should be able to smash a team like Leicester. On current form they should scrape a win.

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  6. Super Mario now facing 5 game plan for writing rubbish - WHAT A DISASTER THIS GUY IS

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  7. Over the years we have always struggled at Leicester and tonight will be no different - remember they have great pace upfront - secret is to stop the supply - we need to start quick and not lethargic - as we have been for weeks - if we play quick for 90 minutes we win BUT if we dont ?>?

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  8. Brendan Rodgers will give his balls back to SG.He won't bench Gerrard for two consecutive matches!
    Even when Rodgers rested/dropped SG it was done with no conviction.It was explanation overload.
    When Rafa Benitez left Terry out.He was clearly dropped.You had a authoritive figure, under pressure and flexing his muscles.
    With BR, it wouldn't surprise me if he asked for Steven Gerrard's approval first.

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  9. OFF TOPIC : does he streaming TWD at illegal web? I assuming his earn can afford to pay hahhaaa

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  10. Hopefully its is not the same boring tactics again from the 1st half vs Stoke like we have had all season. 2nd half we started causing them problems as we pressed high but still lacked killer instinct.

    I am hoping Emre Can starts tonight. He looked the liveliest out of any of our CM's when he has played of late plus he adds presence. We are desperate for pace up front too. Just give Markovic a run as a striker. What do we have to lose when we are struggling to score goals as it is.

    Still believe we were lucky vs Stoke. Bojan hit the post and forced an outstanding saves out of Mignolet too. Leicester are a very organised team at home. Only lost one match there so far. Not going to be an easy game.

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  11. Mario Balotelli makes more back page headlines for what he does off the pitch.My patience with him is wearing thin!

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  12. Yea we did clear one off the line after all... But maybe we needed that bit of luck to turn the season around.

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  13. Anyone reporting on 'The Committee' will have a convenient 'accident'

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  14. I agree Lucas and Toure should keep their places.
    It's funny Jaimie, you rightly say on a regular basis that Gerrard can't play every game at his age and will need to be rested, yet when he IS rested he's been "dropped". It's ridiculous and it's really not so unthinkable that your club captain could be rested two games running considering he's 24 and the opposition is Stoke and Leicester respectively

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  15. Lucas and. Gerrard should not play deep together. Too slow, too slow on the turn and in that position I want Lucas being the leader.

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  16. Stevie G may retire at the end of the season - I would love to see that - go out before father time makes the memory fade - A TRULY BRILLIANT PLAYER - who can deservedly be mentioned alongside other L F C greats

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  17. If it was down to luck, the same teams wouldn't be winning everything all the time. But I do hope it's given the players a boost and put some fight in them. I don't think Rodgers should stay in his job but that doesn't mean I want him to lose games either :-)

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  18. I was trying to see if he accidentally left any porn tabs open. But thanks for introducing me to Mr Porter, Sheyi.

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  19. Luis Mk 2 ........ but without the talent !

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  20. Hey Jaimie. I am a bit surprised that you expect us to score three goals based on our current form. Hopefully you are right :)

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  21. Typo sorry. Just changed it

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  22. Even when he's not playing football he's looking at programmes about his Liverpool team mates.........and manager :-).

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  23. The Stoke game for me was just paper over the cracks. Johnson had to take studs in his head in order for us to win the match. What are the chances of him doing that again?


    We cannot hit a barnyard door at the moment and Bojan is not for the post and a brilliant save by Mignolet could have won it for Stoke and it is not like they were really trying to win the game.

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  24. Playing too well in his last game either he drops form to fit in with the rest or he stays out.

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  25. It shows though that BR is a brilliant man manager BR,. Whilst everyone else is criticising GJ he sticks up for him and sticks by him even though he is rubbish and in return GJ sticks his head in where it hurts and turns the entire season round.


    As long as BR sticks to his policy of standing by those players who are rubbish and continues to pick them we should be OK.

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  26. BR the sneaky mastermind

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  27. it's a shame really he could never win the BPL... if any player in the world deserves it, it's him.

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  28. Indeed usually there's no reason to change a winning team but here you have to take in account that this could be the 4th game in a row in a short space of time for many players. We have a big squad and should use it wisely, especially as a huge schedule awaits.

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  29. Since BR spoke well about Toure/Lucas, going by history- high chances of them being dropped right? LFC should play like the 2nd half vs Stoke and start building up confidence....

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  30. i just thought you don't fix something that ain't broke ,so why change a winning combo

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  31. what happened to everyone?

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  32. I am just loving the midtable mediocrity! Watching us play become a bit of a chore but always end up falling asleep during the match anyway so it is all good.

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  33. Calling the slow build up play/possession football a miss will prove that Rodgers was wrong with sticking to an insipid system.


    The pressing system requires mobile front men though and sticking Lambert up on his own just like Rodgers has with Balotelli still not going to get us many goals. We pressed well in the second half vs Stoke but we were clueless with Lambert up on his own.

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  34. Don't know much about Ojo, but I do love the fact his last name is Eye.
    While on the subject of eyes, it seems - from what little I've seen of him - he has an eye for hitting the ground easily a la Ashley Young. Those of you who are more knowledgeable of his abilities, please correct me if I'm wrong.

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  35. Agree he needs to be played upfront alongside Lambert. Otherwise stick with the team that ran rings round mighty Stoke.

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  36. I think he's injured

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  37. ¡Ojo! also meens "watch out" in spanish, what i find even better

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  38. Aye (or eye) when i were a lad we'd give our right arm for mid table mediocrity and a handful of grit for tea.

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  39. Thigh strain I believe. Or at least that's what they are saying

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  40. We have the next year for that.

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  41. ..........and club's history (biters)

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  42. Yes, Ojo!!! I have been calling for some new blood to enter the fray and this guy has got skill and pace. I hope he gets 30 minutes to show us what he has got.

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  43. lets hope this young boy gets a chance, he's scored a lot of goals in the last few weeks...

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