17 Jan 2015

Confirmed line-up vs. AV: 6 players missing; £20m mystery; 'exciting' attacker to play?

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has named a familiar looking side for this afternoon's Premier League with Aston Villa, but there are a couple of notable absentees from the squad, and a couple of nice surprises.

FULL TEAM: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Sakho, Markovic, Moreno, Lucas, Henderson, Sterling, Coutinho, Borini

SUBS: Ward, Enrique, Lambert, Manquillo, Lallana, Ibe, Williams

VILLA: Guzan, Hutton, Okore, Baker, Cissokho, Sanchez, Westwood, Delph, Cleverley, Agbonlahor, Benteke.

* Out injured: Gerrard, Balotelli, Allen, Flanagan, Johnson, and Sturridge: According to the LFC website: "Mario Balotelli ruled out of #LFC squad to face Villa today due to illness".

* Steven Gerrard is presumably not fit to make this game, or he's being saved for Chelsea.

* Dejan Lovren is not in the squad, which seems surprising. He hasn't played recently, so it's not like he's being saved for the Chelsea game. It looks like he's just been dropped.

* Good to see Jordon Ibe in the squad. After returning early from his loan spell, there's no reason not to have him on the bench.

* Lallana's return is earlier than expected, but there's no point rushing him back. The squad can cover him until he's fully match-fit.

As usual, the main priority will be to shut down Benteke, who always seems to score against Liverpool. He's not in a rich vein of form right now, but the powerful striker will probably fancy his chances against the Reds' inconsistent defence.

I initially predicted a 3-1 win for Liverpool, but I can't shake the feeling that this is potentially a banana-skin game. Villa are having a middling season, but the following facts are a concern:

* Conceded only 6 goals in the last 12 games.
* No team has scored more than ONE goal against Villa since November 2nd.
* 3 clean sheets in the last 4 games.

Revised prediction: 1-1

Author:



180 comments:

  1. Really want to see Jordan and Williams get a shot. Hoping LFC can win comfortably. 4-2 for LFC. If not, a win at least !

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  2. I feel excited about this game, hoping Sterling has a cracking match. Also hope the pool go hard from the start and establish an early advantage.


    Ibe will mostly likely get some game time, would be great to see him hit a goal.


    C'mon the reds !

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  3. Anywhere I can watch it?

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  4. sportlemon site. Very good for me so far..

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  5. Hardly surprising no Lovren he's been awful

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  6. "Rodgers has dumped Fabio Borini from the squad
    yet again, and it looks like Ibe has taken his place. Jordan Williams is
    also preferred, which is a little humiliating for the Italian" - huh?? He's playing upfront as it says in your line-up??

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  7. Let's hope we can come through this match unscathed and that Mignolet gains a bit of confidence.

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  8. Hey Jamie, Just a thought, how can FABIO be not in the team if he is starting????


    Your lack of SUPPORT for BR and the TEAM is just outstanding.


    you really are a special journalist, observation skills of a mole..

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  9. Borini has ZERO control

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  10. Oh yeah I'm so happy for Borini. So nice to see the blade-in-mouth celebration. :-) Well done, dude

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  11. Yessss Borini!!!!!! Prove them wrong!!!!!

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  12. First thing he's done right - My gran could have stuck that in

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  13. Or you could just give credit where it's due.

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  14. Henderson terrific so far. Tackles, key passes, work-rate, setting up counter attacks, and an assist. Glad to see him inside again. Enjoying comparing him and Delph.

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  15. Ooh that was a nice between Markovic and Coutinho.

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  16. Come lads....spread it

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  17. It's 2-1 to them now ;0P

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  18. First Row is stable

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  19. Hahaha I've walked into this

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  20. A lie of the highest order

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  21. vipbox google it

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  22. Other than the volcanic eruption in the centre circle, the naked parachutists dropping from the sky, Luis Suarez rushing from the stands and eating Brad Guzan's head in a single gulp, and Coutinho nearly scoring a towering header from 12 yards, you've not missed much.

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  23. Henderson has the most assists in the PL! And he's not even an attacking midfielder

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  24. It was the Coutinho bit that gave it away.

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  25. How 'bout Sakho stuffing Abonglahore at 31 minutes?

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  26. Can anyne give me a summary of how the game has gone so far? Cheers

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  27. I'm back! :D Thanks for the comments, all.

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  28. 1-0. We have had the better chances but there have been some scares on defense too. We are controlling the mid-field better but are still too slow converting to attack.

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  29. Sterling could have slotted that inside of trying to chip it

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  30. Should have...it was a bad decision that a pure striker would not have made.

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  31. haha of course you are you're the Joker ;-)

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  32. That was a great, I repeat great movement from him.

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  33. Cheers. Any outstanding/Horrific individual perfomances?

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  34. So far, so not bad; a bit more composure and we would be two up (oh, Raheem....). Coutinho pulling the strings, bags of movement up front causing Villa all sorts of problems at the back. Defensively I think we've looked solid - Just signs that Villa are causing us a few problems with high balls into the box, and for me we're conceding possession a bit cheaply in midfield.

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  35. outstanding- Lukas, Sakho, Lukas. Very good from Couts, Sakho and Hendo, No horrifics. But Lukas was outstanding

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  36. Would Delph actually bring anything to the team if we signed him?

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  37. I am going to watch the last 20 mins as it is all I have got time for. What has Lazar been like?

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  38. If we do sell Lukas and Can is left to cb position, yes. Not much, but he wouldn't cost much..

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  39. I don't think he bring anything to the team really, seems average to me.

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  40. Wasted on wing back. Had a few tries but lost the ball more than not. It takes very good game from us for him to excell from us. Or Hendo to cover for him. But you always have one of them doing good attack wise so... Moreno-Couts is a very good partnership, understanding each other perfectly....

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  41. Hope we don't sell Lucas he is showing good form at moment and with Stevie going we need his experience

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  42. he is.. Off to the match. 0-3

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  43. Yeah have noticed that. Hopefully Ibe gets some minuites.

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  44. Brilliant head Skirt

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  45. If Borini has any kind of a left foot that Skrtel header is in

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  46. I can't believe Sanchez hasn't been yellow and red out already. Cheap shot artist like Ramirez.

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  47. WE should be 3 up and out of sight by now !

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  48. Right!!!!! This is sooooooo frustrating.

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  49. This season all over

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  50. Migs! That's one for us.

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  51. Got to get a grip now

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  52. Why do our guys chronically head the ball to nobody?

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  53. Right this is the chaotic period we suck at.

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  54. Thank god Villa are fluffing their shots

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  55. Why is Lambert coming on?

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  56. Same old same old miss our chances then lose the plot !!

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  57. So let me get this straight we need another goal and he brings on Ricky Lambert....

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  58. He's been running the game in the second half.

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  59. It's only a matter of time before we concede...Coutinho once again has gone missing

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  60. Who'd you rather he brought on?

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  61. LOL that made me laugh

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  62. No Lambert why who would you have ?

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  63. Ibe to wing and Sterling up top.

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  64. We need pace and creativity, not static movements and hold up play. Lallana.

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  65. without the ball it's going to be hard to influence the game

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  66. You want to bring on Ibe, at this crucial moment in the match!? We're totally under the gun, bringing on the 19 year old is not the answer.

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  67. Marko why did you stop!

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  68. nerve wracking 20 minutes

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  69. Lambert will help us defend set pieces which looks the most likely area for us to concede. He will also offer more protection of the ball for us to build possession and establish some control. Forget winning 2-0, we have to survive first.

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  70. What the hell was that Lambert!!!!!!!!!!!

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  71. Lambert is more of a menace in our area than he is the opposition and besides by the time he gets back the set pieces he's meant to defend will already have been taken

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  72. Couldn't disagree more. It's a nice idea but not something any wise manager would do.

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  73. Ibe for Sterling might happen tho, Raheem has faded.

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  74. And look who is warming up?

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  75. We just have to learn to get back control of a game .... hold the ball , slow things up

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  76. Gladly eating my words.....but his pass was still poor

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  77. Look who scored? Coming on now for Sterling is a totally different prospect.

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  78. Now that's how striker shoots Raheem. No messing around...just shoot.

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  79. Well that's proved us all wrong :-)

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  80. Lambert is slow but a better finisher than Borini.

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  81. He wouldn't have missed the first one either

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  82. Yes you are right this time.

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  83. Marko should have shot.

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  84. Interesting that Ibe is playing second striker by the looks of things.

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  85. 2 clean sheets in a row for Mignolet, and an overall very good match.

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  86. Yep he needs the confidence boost before Chelski

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  87. Ibe is very composed on the ball.

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  88. Good run out. Hope to see more. almost got an assist there at the end...

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  89. Sakho had another good one Lovrens chances are looking slim.

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  90. 3 points and another clean sheet ...... Reasons to be cheerful PART 2 ;-)

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  91. Good win but it should have been 5-0. Back 3 came up huge. Can is very good. Salvo shut down the left and except for golden opportunity thatv

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  92. Dont know about 5-0 they missed some good chances too

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  93. A decent performance overall. Lucas was bloody excellent again I thought - always tidy and composed, ditto Can. Nice goal for the much maligned Lambert; happy for him.


    My main concern: wastefulness and poor decision making, mostly in that final third. We created a host of openings in that first half and should have scored two or three, but for some simple errors of judgement.

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  94. Good point...but I don't care them.

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  95. Lucas is such a difficult player to rate. He's good when we're on top, as in the first half, but he does seem to disappear when the team is under pressure. He can't change gear and get his team on the front foot, defensively speaking. Some defensive midfielders seem to shine in those circumstances, but Lucas becomes just another body, and not a very quick or strong body at that. Can't shoot, can't run, can't head the ball, can't pass... but...

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  96. if only he had the speed of one....

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  97. Thought Raheem was a bit hungover after his hols , hopefully Lambo has the monkey off his back now , but we must learn to get control back and slow things down when under pressure - we could have blown it yet again ! And unless we can get a bloody good upgrade we musn't sell Lucas !

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  98. the goal definitely is

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  99. To be fair to Sterling, I never had a holiday at his age where I didn't crawl back into the UK on my hands and knees.

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  100. February is really judgement time for Liverpool this season. All the teams we're playing are our competitors in the league: West Ham, Southampton, Man City, Spurs...

    We've also got the derby thrown in for good measure, and the cup games against Chelsea. This is really make or break time. We could easily finish next month in third or fourth, with the league cup final to look forward to. Or not. Exciting!

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  101. Still a holiday mid season gee i bet theres a few players saying how about me.

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  102. Yep we'll let him off this one ....... as long as he signed the contract on the beach !

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  103. Since Lovern has been dropped we've not lost Sakho is more effective in that position ...no nonsense defender

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  104. That will upset JK who would not accept that the boy could play.

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  105. So who would you have in his place ?

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  106. Agree - prob a blessing in disguise we are out of ECL

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  107. Can is our best defender in next ten years. If Real don't cough up 50 mil+

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  108. Jaimie make a lot of sense but isn't good at admitting when he's wrong.

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  109. Orme stop saying things like that in public or some Manc will start touting him to REAL or BARCA. ssshhh

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  110. He will play more C.M his preferred position but its great that he has such versatility

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  111. Shame Spurs won Cmon the Toon !

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  112. I think he even has loyalty in him. Being as crazy, scrath that, passionate, usually means that...

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  113. Like most players these days they're loyal to whoever pays them the most unless they are supporters

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  114. Well the second half is why people talk about him.. And he would fit in nicely in our team with that brain fart after which we scored...

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  115. Spurs worry me

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  116. I know, but passionate ones might just stay where they are loved. A song for him, not for Ballo my Scousers...

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  117. Keep getting late goals- hate it

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  118. No I think the Saints will fade I think United will fade I'm sticking with what I said at the beginning of the 1 Man City
    2 Chelsea
    3 Arsenal
    4 Liverpool
    5 Man United
    7 Tottenham
    8 Saints

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  119. They don't worry me...they have a few derbys coming up including Arsenal just before they visit us. Reckon they'll drop a fair amount of points between now and end of season. Arsenal/Utd for us to displace from top four I reckon

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  120. Not just that it's their Coach he knows how to get the best out of the squad keeps his mouth shut as well

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  121. Did you see what they did to Chelsea ?...that was not an accident

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  122. highly doubt they can produce that on a consistent basis against such quality opposition..

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  123. Like your optimism - if Sturridge can do the business up front and stay fit then why not

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  124. Quite right too Stats wise and performance wise he's better in that position.
    Lovren should play on the RIGHT of a back three with Can moving into the Defensive Midfield IF Lucas forms drops off.Otherwise Lovern can continue to warm the bench.

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  125. Jordan Henderson...........World class!

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  126. What I have said is what I hope happens in your league below...us ousting Utd...spurs 7th i reckon, all teams above are better than them including us. With Studge back we will turn them over no probs/

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  127. He wouldn't be a starter for me but a useful squad player.

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  128. If you believe BR Lovren will come good but Sakho takes his spot and looks a lot better than Lovren who has been awful.
    None the less your ideas worth a try definitely.

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  129. United will definitely drop points they have to play US CITY CHELSEA and ARSENAL before the end of the season .

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  130. BTW Falcao looks worse than Balotelli

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  131. Despite the goal, Borini was very poor actually...

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  132. "Three points again! Team's getting stronger each game, soon I'll be amongst it all." I like that twitter statement by studge, reckon he's licking his lips about chances being created for him to put away. Lets hope he's fit for rest of season.

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  133. I'd at least want us to have some options, different kinds of player in there. I was excited when we were linked with Nainggolan, for example. Especially at the prospect of having to type his name on a regular basis.

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  134. Hope you r right - going to go to the wire I reckon

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  135. As I've said before I rate Koeman - Top Man

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  136. What is it with 'Jordans' and LFC ? Got 3 of them now ...... we will be after Katie Price next ;-)

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  137. He's ready to go above and beyond in supporting his team.

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  138. Lovren has been awful but for some reason I still think he'll come good. I'm hoping when he gets his confidence back he'll get back to the centre back we saw last season.

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  139. She'd have trouble staying onside

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  140. It was almost the opposite of what you would expect...


    He started off bright, showed some good movement and excellent touches on the ball. He gets his goal, and suddenly he forgets how to use his feet -.-

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  141. I watched him. He made good decisions and good passes but we still controlled the middle of the field. He's good but nothing special.

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  142. From what I saw in this game, my opinion is unchanged. Delph is neither a replacement for Gerrard nor an improvement to the team nor worth the money in any way! Concentrate on a goalie and a striker PLEASE!
    We at least for the moment broke the Villa hex and I attribute that to having Can and Lucas in the lineup and not Gerrard and Lovren. Our midfield had legs all game and had we had Lucas and Gerrard together I really think the outcome would have been poor. Ibe's cameo appearance yielded two dangerous plays for us in a very short time. Just imagine him, Studge, Sterling, Coutinho and Henderson (maybe even Markovic if Can stays at right back) all together causing havoc.
    Lastly, I was happy for Borini. he has hustled for 3-4 games now and has been in good position on loads of occasions. Much more impact than Mister Commerical (Balo) who only poses and scowls in place of running and contributing.

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  143. I think saints are a top 4 team if they get and stay healthy....................

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  144. Exactly. If Lucas drops form we have Can to put in at DM but I would be very happy to get an Alex Song type in January or in the summer. Hope we can pry him away from West Ham; most likely the summer since they are doing so well with him........

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  145. That is so true. I liked Borini's hustle in the last few games. He has been fighting for the ball and causing havoc.

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  146. Emre Can is a very good football player. Probably the best signing for the club in terms of money spent vs value received. He could be a regular in this side for a decade. And Sakho is showing his class, he has his shaky moments when he gets pressed but he's aggressive, good on the ball, can tackle and seems to have good focus for 90 minutes. I'm hoping by the end of the season we can chalk both these guys down in the "successful transfer" column once and for all.

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  147. He's poor in the air is the main concern, he's got a 50p head. Struggles a bit under pressure, but reads the game well. Quality on the ball.

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  148. In your dreams

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  149. Markovic was excellent defensively not so good attacking but they were trying to get wingers and full backs forward so it can be expected that he may have to do more defending than attacking. Still a very good performance fro him.

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  150. I have been asking that for a while. I know they train a lot with the ball at the feet. I think we need to do a bit more practice and headers too. Lucas is the only one who finds his man with a header.

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  151. He took his goal well.

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  152. We are in Europa though so it's not like we get to rest.

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  153. I would say Sakho handles getting pressed better than any of our other CBs.

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  154. He will get absolutely owned in a debate, to the point where surely he reconsiders his opinion...but then he runs the same opinion in another article. He takes the anti-group think thing too far me thinks ;)

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  155. Too bad you don't live in oz

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