28 Feb 2015

LFC lineup vs. MCFC: 4 huge changes ahead? £66m triple-boost? Surprise start for Balotelli?

Liverpool may be out of the Europa League, but there's still lots to play for this season, and the grand prize remains a coveted place in the Champions League. With 12 league games to go, the Reds still have every chance of qualifying for the competition, and victory over Manchester City on Sunday will represent a massive boost to the club's chances.

Brendan Rodgers has complained this week about lack of preparation time for Sunday's game, but in my view, he has no real cause for complaint:

* Coutinho, Henderson, Markovic, and Sakho should be available for the game, so that's four fresh, well-rested players to come back into the team.

* Kolo Toure, Dejan Lovren, Javier Manquillo, and Mario Balotelli, haven't played that much football over the last couple of weeks, so they're also (comparatively) fresh.

* Adam Lallana played only 38 minutes of football against Besiktas, so he shouldn't be tired-out.

* Sturridge has been 'resting' for the last five months, so he shouldn't be tired (!).

Clearly, Rodgers has plenty of players with fresh legs to come into the team, so the tiredness/fatigue excuse is a red herring. As such, if he manages the squad properly, tiredness shouldn't be an issue. With the above in mind, I'd go for the following team:

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

----- Toure ------ Skrtel -------- Lovren

Manquillo ---- Allen --- Hendo ----- Markovic

------------ Coutinho - Lallana

--------------- Sturridge

* Rest Ibe, Sterling, Moreno, and Can. They've played a shedload of football over the last month, and all (bar Moreno) were largely ineffective against Besiktas.

* Start all the players who are comparatively well-rested, and/or haven't played that much football recently, i.e. Toure, Lovren, Manquillo, Hendo, Coutinho, Markovic, Lallana, and Sturridge.

* If Sakho is fit, play him ahead of Lovren.

* Glen Johnson is another option at right wing-back. He also hasn't played much football recently and will be well-rested.

* Balotelli played quite well against Besiktas, so there's also the option to start him ahead of Lallana, or even Sturridge.

* With above team, Liverpool will have a stellar bench: Sterling, Ibe, Can, Moreno, Sakho etc.

If Rodgers is really concerned about fatigue, then this is the way to go. If he decides to play Sterling, Ibe etc, then it's his funeral if they don't perform to due to tiredness.

Anfield legend Mark Lawrenson is not too confident about the game. Predicting a 1-1 draw, he told the BBC:

"City have found form again in attack with nine goals in their last two league games. They can hurt Liverpool too, which is why I think this game will end up as a draw".

My prediction: 2-1 to Man City.

Author:



36 comments:

  1. That team will lose 2-1. Lallana and Coutinho behind sturridge. Hendo and Allen in middle. Sakho for lovren if fit. Can for toure. Markovic rwb and moreno lwb. This team will win 2-1

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  2. my starting line up will be like follow

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

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

    Sterling ---- Allen --- Hendo ----- Markovic

    ------------ Coutinho - Lallana

    --------------- Sturridge
    I remove kolo toure because he is error prone. . . Loveren too..

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  3. Pick that team and we lose

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  4. That is what he has predicted so he is at least consistent;-)

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  5. Markovic on right and Moreno on left with Sterling pushing out Lallana

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  6. Any team with Allen in the middle is in trouble.

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  7. I feel like having a coronary just thinking about what an in-form Silva and Aguero might do to that proposed back three.


    I assumed Sakho wouldn't be available; if he is that's good news - and he surely has to play. I think it's be a good day to stick with the tried and tested back three that's brought us so much recent defensive success, which means Can in defence also.


    Moreno and Marko as wing backs.

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  8. Allen together with Skrtel and Moreno were our best players the other evening. Yes, if Lucus was fit he probably would not get in the starting xi but we have not exactly got an abundance of central midfielders fit at the moment. He does a job!

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  9. I would try
    Gk Migs LWB Moreno RWB Marko CB's Can Skrtel and Sakho Hendo and Allen in the middle Coutinho and Ibe with Balotelli up front.

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  10. I like that team. I expect a host of people to disagree but I'd think about Johnson at right back simply because he's good at keeping the ball. Those three defenders are going to find similar problems to what they did on Thursday where it will be hard to make effective passes. Liverpool will have to be patient to recycle the ball and let the formation do it's work. It's a balanced midfield: Allen will help recycle possession, Henderson can rove around the centre of the pitch and Coutinho and Lallana can be the creators. But what Liverpool need to do is be brave and have the confidence to make those quick passes and not just knock the ball around slowly. Having possession is useless if the opposition have time to adjust and you never get into dangerous positions. Liverpool are at their best when the passing is direct and quick, the players run onto the ball and it all happens at top pace. Being at home I think it will be an odd game because Liverpool will be expected to try and control the game but I don't think 60% of the possession is going to win it for them. They need City to come forward and that only happens if they sit deeper, which invites trouble. I really don't know what to expect. Perhaps it's just not a game we should expect to win.

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  11. Would take a point now with six pointers against Arse & mancs to come.

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  12. Fortunately it is unlikely to be the team he plays. I often think about Johnson at right back too but fortunately the nightmares are less vivid and less frequent now providing I remember to take my medication. Holding onto the ball is not enough just ask Balotelli and Henderson. Sturridge will give his opinion without you needing to ask


    Finally we are Liverpool and should expect to win every game.

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  13. May bit nit-picking a bit and off topic but has anyone noticed how crap we are at throw in's. Possession is overturned almost every single time.

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  14. I will be absolutely amazed if Balotelli starts. That defence you've picked gave me a cold shiver up my spine too. Hopefully Sakho is fit

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  15. 3-0 to man city

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  16. Gosh, don't exaggerate or anything. There's nothing wrong with that back-three, and there's no evidence anywhere to support the idea that LFC would get 'thrashed'. The same back-three defended extremely well against Besiktas for 120 minutes, and it took an unstoppable wonder-strike for Besiktas to score.

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  17. Exaggerate? Me? Ha! If that's exaggeration then I have a 50 inch penis :-)

    Yeah, I agree they defended well against Besiktas, but Containing Man City is surely a different propsition. We've been extolling the virtues of a settled back 3 and we have a tried, tested trio in Can, Skrtel and Sakho that has performed consistently well over a sustained period. Can and Sakho also offer a little more going forward. To be honest I wouldn't mind seeing either Toure or Lovren start, but not both, and certainly not at the expense of Sakho if he's fit to play.

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  18. Common, that's ridiculous.

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  19. My concern is not the back three. My concern is that we have zero midfield control against Besiktas and Southampton. We couldn't maintain any ball possession in the second half.

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  20. Thinking, fearing that might happen is normal(not for me, but we are different). But saying it out loud, posting it on net (if you ain't a pundit or journalist) is totally beyond me, for a Liverpool fan I mean.

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  21. Seriously you fear City might score 3 at Anfield?!
    and right after being schooled by barca

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  22. fearing that might happen is normal(not for me,...

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  23. Oh sorry got it;-)

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  24. though barca match has nothing to do with it, thety just might be under more pressure in the epl which could work for them...

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  25. Aguero will most likely score the inevitable goal, but I feel if toure is not starting the match, their midfield will be disorganized and that may work in our favor.

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  26. him not plying would be a huge boost...

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  27. We need sterling to start for the counter-attacks. I would love a win to keep pace with arsenal and utd. But I feel like citeh will score 2 goals, and I don't see us scoring 3. Last season when we win 3-2 we had "the one who shall not be named" in attack and we scored a winner against the run of play. We might get 1 if we are lucky (2-1 to them). If we are to win our defense had to step up, or only chance of winning is 1-0. Go LFC!!!

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  28. WBA has unlocked the door for us to climb another rung this week courtesy of Berahino. But after 120 minutes, a loss and a plane ride home form Istanbul we will be a bit ragged. We have to have this match...c'mon you Reds!

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  29. I think BR will rest Sturridge and go with Stirling up top with coutinho n Lallana behind!

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  30. Best to start with both. We need the pace to break their defense, our passing alone isn't good enough to get the job done.

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  31. Johnson is good at keeping the ball? Hmmmm, you sure Adam? Maybe 3 years ago...

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  32. To be honest, I'm not concerned by Southampton in the top 4 race. Never really have been.

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  33. I can feel a result coming.

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  34. Not confident about this one and City will be looking to close the gap on Chelsea so I expect them to turn up with the aim of winning and feel they will have too much for us.

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  35. I wouldn't put Lovren in, he just has no confidence and still struggling. This is a big game where mistakes will go punished. After not playing for months I don't see why Manquillo needs to start. Liverpool will not have only 1 game a week so the team will have time to rest. We ne d to play our strongest team if we are to have a chance.

    Sterling has been struggling recently so I would leave him out.

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