20 Jan 2015

LFC line-up vs. Chelsea: BR to make shock midfield choice? £42m duo to start? Bad news for Borini?

Liverpool face Chelsea in the League cup tonight, and a victory over Jose Mourinho's team will be a massive confidence boost for the Reds, who face a tough run Premier League games over the next month.

Since the home defeat to Chelsea in November, things have changed at Liverpool, and with no defeats in 8 games now, the team is now on a long-awaited upward curve. A few points:

* Will Brendan Rodgers play his strongest team, or will he rest players ahead of the busy Premier League schedule? In my view, he should go with his strongest available team, and should - for the most part - stick with the players who've engineered the club's resurgence over the last six weeks.

* The more the likes of Sakho, Skrtel, Hendo, Lucas, and Sterling play together, the more comfortable they'll become in the current system, and that can only be a good thing for Liverpool.

* Will Gerrard return? There's definitely an argument to be made for sticking with a winning team, and I see no reason to change things for tonight's game.

* Rodgers has never left Gerrard out for two games in a row, but with the captain confirmed to be leaving at the end of the season, the manager may feel more emboldened to make surprise decisions like that.

* That said, if it comes down to a choice between Gerrard and Markovic (on the right), I'll take Gerrard every day of the week, but only if he plays as a right wing-back. The Henderson/Lucas midfield axis is working right now, and shouldn't be broken up.

* After scoring in the last game, Borini deserves to keep his place. Goalscorers need to be encouraged, and what kind of message does it send to drop a striker after scoring a long-awaited Premier League goal? With Gerrard returning, though, Rodgers will probably drop the Italian, and push Sterling into the striker role.

* Lallana and Balotelli haven't played for a while, so both are fresh and rested, so if Rodgers does decide to rotate things, those two will probably feature.

Team I'd like to see:

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

----- Can ------ Skrtel ----- Sakho

Gerrard -- Hendo ---- Lucas --- Markovic

-------- Coutinho --- Sterling

--------------- Borini

Ahead of the game, Liverpool legend Jon Aldridge urged Rodgers to dispense with rotation, and field his strongest possible team. He told the Liverpool Echo:

"Bolton on Saturday is the time to shuffle your pack and give players a breather. This is a semi final, a chance to get to Wembley and fight for a trophy for Liverpool Football Club, there should be no quarter asked or given"

Will Chelsea field their strongest team? It's doubtful, but that shouldn't affect the Reds' team selection.

My prediction: 2-2

Author:



69 comments:

  1. SG has to play, he is our leader.

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  2. I find the idea of playing Gerrard at right wing-back a bit weird. Do you really think we could get away with playing our leggiest player in the position that probably requires the most running, JK?

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  3. My guess is Mourinho is arrogant enough to rest à number of players he'll play à full strength team in the second leg if he needs to

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  4. So you are saying that if you beat poor opposition with a weakened side and without playing particularly well, we should keep the same 11 until beaten. This cannot change a winning team theory is ridiculous. We should play whatever is consideredour strongest etam available and that does not include Borini.

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  5. Put him in number ten Moreno left sterling right borini up top another chance to prove his worth

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  6. Don't know if it is arrogance (though he clearly has that) more like confidence in the depth of quality at his disposal - curse him!

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  7. Would like to see Sterling, Coutinho, Balotelli, and Borini all in together with some variable formation.

    Perhaps Lucas and Henderson behind them.


    And then Moreno, Sakho, Skrtel, Can

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  8. It does not matter who he plays. Lest we forget, his 'reserve' team beat us 2-0 last season and now he has better players and we have worse.

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  9. I would give Coutinho a rest. He faded away in the second half Play Sterling and Borini, Manquillo at RB and Markovic ahead.

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  10. Borini being in our strongest team doesn't make any sense to me! I would play Sterling up top with Coutinho and Lallana/ Gerrard behind, and leave Markovic at right wing back.

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  11. So what are you saying 3-1 to us?

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  12. Rodgers said Balotelli is ill so he can't play.


    Manquillo and Gerrard over Moreno and Coutinho would be changes. Don't change the winning squad too much.

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  13. That note from his Mum looked suspiciously like his own handwriting

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  14. Actually I heard it was a voicemail recording, and it sounded an awful lot like the cookie monster...

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  15. gerrard at wingback is accident waiting to happen...u dont deploy leggy player in the role which demands costant forth and back runs

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  16. Chelsea are not unbeatable as spurs proved, if were on our game we can beat them, would love sg to start and score the winner

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  17. Chelsea can only beaten if you stifle Matic. Against Newcastle, he did not play and against Spurs, he had a poor game.

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  18. Pace of Hazard, Willian & Oscar is scary as usual for me. We need pace to offset this and Marko, Moreno will have to play with Stevie G coming in around half time.Plus, Lallana instead of Coutinho later on. Hoping LFC to win 3-2

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  19. My prediction: Liverpool 2 - 1 Chelsea

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  20. gerrard as a wingback? seriously jaimie?

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  21. beggers beleif

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  22. matic is a great player but still think we can do it if we pass and move quickly enough, fingers crossed

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  23. No mate it's a ludicrous idea.

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  24. Jaimie - what do you make of Can's recent contributions to the team? He doesn't seem to get much credit in your posts but I think he's showing a lot of promise, especially considering he's in a relatively unusual position for him.

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  25. I'd much rather Gerrard and Coutinho at #10 and Sterling up top.


    Manquillo might see a game too. He's more defensive than Markovic and will be up against Hazard (Another reason to not play Gerrard there...)

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  26. Lallana is fit
    ....................................Sterling
    ............................Coutinho........Lallana
    Moreno..................Henderson........Lucas...........Markovic
    .........................Sakho..........Skrtel........Can
    .........................................Mignolet

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  27. Yeah he knows he can park the bus and hit us on the break like last time. Having said that I think we have a bit more cover than then but much lesser attackers.

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  28. Sterling is there
    Coutinho is still there
    Sturridge was not there came off bench but was sh*t because he was injured so simmilar situation


    We only ahve one less attacker then May game Suarez gone that is it

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  29. Not too long now until tonight's big game gets under way.

    Rodgers v Mourinho, or Liverpool-Chelsea if you prefer, starts at 19:45 GMT with live coverage on the BBC Sport website.

    BBC Radio Merseyside have just tweeted: Likely @LFC team tonight v Chelsea... Mignolet; Can, Skrtl, Sakho; Markovic, Henderson, Lucas, Moreno; Gerrard, Coutinho; Sterling.

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  30. Agreed then that means Gerrard should be dropped!

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  31. Your right.no way he had the legs to play there!

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  32. If borini deserves to retain his place which is totally fine with me, Lambert should retain his starting berth too, given the goal lambert scored was actually more that a simple tap-in.

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  33. Sheikh you know its no Champs league final! so take a chill pill son!

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  34. Not really a wing-back per se; it's just a label. More of a right midfielder. That makes more sense (IMO) than having left-sided Markovic on the right.

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  35. He said that before the Villa game, not the Chelsea game.

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  36. A right footed Markovic on the right? The same kid who made more interventions than anyone in the last game, more tackles than anyone but Lucas in the Sunderland game and only less clearances than Skrtel and Sakho in that same game? It is a hard position to play defensively and Gerrard doesn't have the legs. Someone has to cover that wing and they need to get up and down. No matter what you call the position.

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  37. Gerrard vs. Chelsea is largely ineffective, as proven by history. So, I'd say no to Stevie in this match.

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  38. Liverpool's XI: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Sakho, Lucas, Henderson, Gerrard, Moreno, Markovic, Coutinho, Sterling.
    Substitutes: Ward, Enrique, Lambert, Manquillo, Lallana, Borini, Rossiter.

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  39. Whatever you or anyone else says he will play

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  40. To bad he is starting : )

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  41. Was my post offensive in anyway? Playing Gerrard in that position doesn't make footballing sense.

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  42. the team that started v villa deserves to start in this game....you win you score your dropped ....

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  43. Players will be rested for Bolton. Borini will likely start that game.

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  44. borini hardly needs to be rested .....players being rested is the lamest excuse for dropping someone

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  45. I mean Gerrard will not be playing the Bolton game. He is one of those that will be rested. Borini has been dropped but playing once a week for a player who runs as much as him is better than twice.

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  46. Chelsea playing with two holding midfielders and very active AMs. Our supply lines may well be cut out here but hopefully we can drag their players out of positions.

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  47. A sign of fear from Mourinho

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  48. Gerard hasn't got the legs to play that wing back position so Borini will probably be dropped to accommodate him along with Sterling and Couts.
    I'd like to see Borini keep his place but this isn't the game for it

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  49. He knows that we can be frustrated and will likely make mistakes. More caution probably.

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  50. when was last time he ever credited a player
    but he was quick to get on cans case when he was playing badly

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  51. Rafa was obsessed with energy levels in games and rotated often. Fergie too. In fact most managers do it if you are playing a decent number of games. Agree or not rotation is needed.

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  52. Agreed he doesn't need to be rested but 1 goal against Villa isn't a true reflection on improving form, he still wasn't that great against Villa.

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  53. All we can say for sure is that the ambifooted Markovic is clearly well suited to the right-sided pseudo-wing-sprint-patrolman role.

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  54. Indeed. Although I am never going to try and say that out loud or I'll make a fool of myself.

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  55. Unfair! Gerrard should be super sub like Lampard!

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  56. IN league
    see no problem playing him in cups
    beside he is not here next season and we dont ahve that much to play for

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  57. Obviously not as suited as SG but I suppose he'll have to do - sigh

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  58. They didnt beat us, they won. Like cowards they parked the bus showing the man has no class and no dignity. And like a fool Rodgers walked right into the knife

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  59. Did you really suggest that the nearly.35 year old Gerrard should play wing back Jaimie.....I give up.

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  60. Borini...you have to joking!

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  61. And Balotelli confirmed today on instagram that he is still ill

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  62. Yes, and that has nothing to do with my reply. The poster said that 'Rodgers said' Balotelli was ill. He didn't.

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  63. Gerrard is to slow for that role. Hazard would have overrun him...
    Marko hat a MOTM performance against sunderland in that role on the right, and he did well against hazard yesterday.
    The only position where Gerrard should play is behind the striker - just like he did yesterday

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  64. I was just confirming that he is still ill which seems generally relevant to why he is not playing.

    At least he is apparently still ill according to a report about an instagram account that seems to bear the same name as him ;-)

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