3 Mar 2015

LFC lineup vs. Burnley: Massive double dilemma for Rodgers; surprise start for Balotelli?

Liverpool come face-to-face with possible summer-signing Danny Ings on Wednesday, and although the striker is in great form for Burnley this season, his efforts probably won't be enough to stop the LFC juggernaut from rolling-on.

Liverpool will go into tomorrow's game on the crest of a wave after a superb victory over Manchester City, and after eight wins in the last ten Premier League games, it's fair to say that the Reds are - and should be - favourites to pick up all three points.

Team news:

* Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is back in training, and may be available for the game.

* Glen Johnson is also available again after a recent 'illness'.
* Sakho is 'nearing a return' after his recent hip injury.
* Jordon Ibe is out injured with a knee injury.

The two big questions for this game are obvious: If fit, should Steven Gerrard and Mamadou Sakho return to the starting line-up? For me, the answer is categorically NO.

* Why change a winning team? Without Gerrard, Liverpool have won four of the last five games, and after the impressive victory over Manchester City, none of the midfielders deserve to be dropped.

* Lazar Markovic could make way (without the team skilling a beat) but he plays in a different position to Gerrard, so that won't happen.

* Dejan Lovren is playing well, and that is good for rebuilding his shattered confidence. After spending £20m, it's important that Liverpool get the best out of him, and dropping him after several solid defensive performances is (arguably) counter-productive.

* Both Gerrard and Sakho are returning from injury, so if they're to take part at all, it makes sense to start both on the bench, and ease them back in slowly.

* Balotelli is back on the sidelines after a brief return to the team, and it's clear that he's not really needed at Anfield. Still, if Rodgers decides to give Sterling a rest, he could hand the Italian a surprise Premier League start.

With the above in mind, I'd expect to see the following team:

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

---- Can ------ Skrtel ---- Lovren

Markovic --- Allen - Hendo --- Moreno

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

-------------- Sterling

* In a 3-4-3 formation, Coutinho, Lallana, Sterling, and Sturridge can't fit in the same team unless one of them plays as a right wing-back, and unless there's a massive injury crisis, that isn't going to happen.

* Rodgers started with Sturridge on the bench against Man City, and he may go the same route again.

* If Sturridge does start, though, then it's likely to be Lallana who makes way.

Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson believes that Burnley will be 'a more difficult game for Liverpool than Manchester City', and in his column for the BBC today, he explained why:

"City came to Anfield and let Liverpool play; Burnley won't [do that] - they'll be biting into tackles, denying Liverpool space and making things as tough as possible"

Lawro still predicts a 2-0 win, though:

"Liverpool will need to produce the same intensity as they did against City, and if they manage that, Brendan Rodgers's side will win comfortably".

If result go the wrong way over the next two nights, Liverpool could end up 6 points off fourth place, and back down to 6th in the table, so victory is clearly imperative.

How ironic it will be, though, if Danny Ings scores a winning goal and basically neuters his future club's chances of qualifying for the Champions League...

My prediction: 3-1 to LFC.

Author:



63 comments:

  1. Nicolas Chamberlain9:14 pm, March 03, 2015

    I was thinking the same, but I would opt for a place on the bench for Sterling.

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  2. Nicolas Chamberlain9:26 pm, March 03, 2015

    Normally I always hope that our rivals drop points, but I've put some money on a win for Southampton, Hull and Aston Villa...
    Unfortunately they are playing like a mid table side.
    They will drop out EL places as well.
    Not a rival anymore for 4th place.

    I would start with Sturridge, Coutinho and Lallana.
    Its Raheem's time to make an impact as a subsitute or play as a RWB.

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  3. Another option would be to play an attacking trio Lallana, Coutinho and Sturridge and play Sterling at RWB. Whoever plays I think we'll have too much for Burnley

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  4. Hitting a bit too close to home eh?

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  5. This formation is working but leaves little room for our attacking options, in their favored positions at least...

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  6. I'd have to change his name to Sterling

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  7. Raheem Sterling is lazy? What the what now?

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  8. Despite Sakho being the superior player I wouldn't rush him back and if Lovren can get some confidence then he can be a good squad player. We have to be planning for life without Gerrard and I don't see the point in putting him back in unless we are rotating.

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  9. I would say that Coutinho and Lallana are far more happy in those positions. The back four (including Migs) seem very comfortable (Sakho not Lovren) and Moreno has really come along of late. I honestly think it fits them better than what they may perceive as "their best positions".

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  10. why not play him in the U21 better still loan him to barnsley!!!

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  11. i am talking about the fact that there are only two midfield position that are not dm. with everyone fit it means we have two positions for lallana,sterling, couts, , gerrard,, ibe and lazar, as daniel is a definite striker chooce unless they play wb which only works against smaller teams..

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  12. HaHaHa At last somebody else who watches the games and makes there own mind up instead of being brain washed, Yes loan him out, but I was thinking of Derby County as it worked for J.Ibe

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  13. I agree, Sterling is to lazy and cant tackle to be a wing back, The bench is the best option.

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  14. i was being sacastic my friend sterling right now is the best young player in the country and is a big plus for us what i cannot understand is why some fans are not happy he is proving as good as he is, it very sad in 343 lallana should play at rwb and sterling and couts behind sturridge

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  15. i see the reasoning behind keeping a winning team but sometimes a few changes are needed and can't hurt (i hope)

    possible changes could be-

    Can into markovic position- back 3 of sakho skrtel lovren (although not sure i would take Can out of the back 3 but could work for this game)

    Sterling or lallana into the wing back position and sturridge up top- i could see this being the most likely to happen

    wouldn't change allen or hendo- but he may play hendo in RWB and stevie in middle (hope he doesn't)

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  16. Well he doesn't have actual things to complain about so making things up is the order of the day.

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  17. Or someone being ironic, perhaps?

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  18. Yeah fair play. I think the lack of options on the right hand side mean that Markovic, Ibe and Sterling will have to play WB. Considering how good Couts was in the last game I am convinced the odd rest will do him good and Lallana needs to watch his fitness. Same for Gerrard. I think we can and should be looking at a bit of rotation. Truth is there are not that many formations where all those players would be happy anyway.

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  19. You know I really think you're just trolling, did Lovren roll with your girl in the hay so you dispise him so much, lemme know?

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  20. We can't forget Rodgers sees Lovren as his protege so only a horrible injury could see him left out of the starting XI.

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  21. Please get back to me after the game after you have watched him play ???

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  22. Yes I agree he is not the finished article yet and I wish that people would let him grow up before putting him on a pedestal. He does act like a spoilt little brat.

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  23. Maybe once you reach 51+ years you'll wise up. Not holding out much hope to be honest.

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  24. All I can say is wrong prescription, or is it troll?

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  25. yes watching

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  26. Oh. Well that's settled then.

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  27. Well obviously not and that is not evidence it is opinion.

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  28. OK whatever.

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  29. Evidence?
    Did he take his ball and go home crying in the middle of one of your weekly one-on-one scrimmages after you expertly megged him?

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  30. 7 goals and 8 assists. 2.3 key passes per game in the league. He makes more dribbles and is fouled more often than any other of our players. Offensively he has been our best player this year and things like pressing are not shown in the stats and anyone with eyes (that work) sees that he does a great deal of pressing.

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  31. he is not the finished article yet but his numbers warrant more respect from you he is our most important player this season (sterling) pay attention 2moro and he will show you

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  32. We have been watching him play for quite a whle now bud. While not always brilliant he has been one of our best players for a season and a half nearly. It is you who needs to pay attention.

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  33. All I can say is (rose tinted glasses) or is it sheep ?

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  34. Think Markovic does not deserve to retain his place in the side, his performance over the last 4 or 5 games has been the weakest in the team. I have watched his lack of tracking back when he has lost possession (this happens too frequent) and his detachment from the game that seems to pass him by. I hope this is just a temporary blip in his progression but my gut feeling is that he is too erratic a player for LFC.

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  35. Maybe you should've gone to SPECHSAVERS.

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  36. Even more witty for the CAPITALS.

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  37. SPECK (haha) maybe me

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  38. Talking long run.

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  39. To be fair to the lad that only happened when we tried him at left wing back which is a bit of an ask for a right sided 20 year old attacking midfielder.....he has been generally good the other side.

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  40. Ibe wont be playing lads.

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  41. I ilke the line-up as posted, but BR shouldn't wait until 75' if the game is not well and truly won. Burnley has nothing to lose here by playing conservatively and our recent let-down to bottom feeders has become almost legendary. Ings will want to show BR why he needs him at Anfield. Sturridge in for whoever isn't having a good game at the 60 minute mark at the latest.

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  42. Gerrard won't play, no one will want to risk him getting injured again and missing the end of the season. Maybe we'll see him in the cup on the weekend.


    Even with Ibe now injured the options Liverpool have are excellent. I say we stick with Markovic and Moreno and then rotate players on the weekend. Obviously the FA Cup will have some priority now that it's the only trophy the club can win for their departing captain but still, it's only Blackburn. There will be the usual giant killer story backdrop but Liverpool should have no trouble scoring a few goals against a mid-table championship team. Blackburn have conceded 44 league goals this season and they have to come to Anfield willing to play, trying to score. That's the game for which I think the current form players should be rested and I can see the likes of Borini, Balotelli, Manquillo, Gerrard, Sakho all getting a run out.


    Depending on fitness maybe it's a good game for Sturridge to start and Sterling can replace Coutinho just in behind. Coutinho won't get the space he did against City, it will be (as everyone is saying) a totally different kind of game. Still, it will be the same for Sterling and Lallana. Burnley will probably play two holding midfielders so there will be no space no matter who is playing. For me Sterling is just a little bit more dangerous out wide and Sturridge a bit more effecitve through the middle against tough defenders. For that reason I'd have Coutinho on the bench and Sturridge starting with Sterling in behind him.

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  43. You just like him because he's closer to you in age. All you young folks are the same. Come back to us when you've had a few hard years under your belt and can call yourself a real supporter.

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  44. Sterling can play in behind the striker and still go wide, that's where he was when he originally impressed us all. Kenny had him as an all-out winger but Rodgers has found a nice balance. I say give him the licence to do both which means not playing him as a wing back. He needs to be pressing from the front, not tracking back on the wing. Of course that means leaving either Lallana or Coutinho on the bench but actually I think the team can cope with that. Without those central spaces to run into Coutinho will be reduced to drifting out to the left and I'm just not convinced he's as effective in that role.

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  45. Do you get the feeling the Rodgers is going to let Gerrard play in the cup games and "manage" him through the league? The injury is the perfect excuse. It would be tragic at this stage to ruin the good form by re-introducing Gerrard and finding out that it all starts to go wrong.

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  46. Shakespeare got it wrong: capitalization is the soul of wit.

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  47. I think you've got it wrong bob-dob. He's been a supporter for 50+ years. That's how much more of a Liverpool fan he is than you. His actual age is a mystery. I expect he's in his late 90s.

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  48. It does not matter how he plays to you as your mind is made up.


    If he plays badly you ill say he is inconsistent and should play better. If he plays well you will say he is inconsistent and should always play like that .

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  49. I think this is why Gerrard is leaving. Right now it's a genuine decision for Rodgers ... does he include him or not? As fans we might think it's simple enough but Rodgers will still use his captain when available. So it's at a tipping point now where he is still likely to get picked for most games but there is some serious doubt about if the team is better off with him or without him. Gerrard is not willing to continue his career to the point where Liverpool are better with him on the bench. We might label that as pride or ego but I think for him it's the right move. Gerrard has never been a bench player, he's never been the guy to make way for someone else. He's always been the guy who lead from the front and as captain he often single-handedly wrestled the team to victory. If he's not lifting the team or at least being as effective as everyone else on the pitch then it just seems wrong. I can understand why he wants to leave a legacy of always being that guy, not having a slow decline into mediocrity.

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  50. Vyshakh Surreal Rv7:43 am, March 04, 2015

    I agree, but there is a real threat of burning players out when playing 2-3 times in a weeks time. We have the players, so why not rest our better attacking players (atleast for the start of the game, and sub them in if needed later)??

    lalana, - Sturridge- sterling as front three.

    but its like saying, if my aunt had a beard, i would call her uncle. We dont make the calls.
    #inBrendenWeTrust

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  51. Fair point, but for me his seeming lack of effort to track back after losing the ball, warrants him being dropped IMO.

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  52. Honestly with Southampton winning against Crytal Palace it's imperative to win this game to put pressure on the top four and to stay ahead of Southampton. I do think this will difficult but I'm hoping we can deal with them as we are at home and even though they will make it difficult. I think Ibe would be ideal for this game as the energy and enthusiasm that he brings is like a new signing.

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  53. Well with all the games we will play till the end of the season being crucial space for mistakes is very limited. So rotation needs to be done very carefully. I liked the rotation for Besiktas and it payed off with the amazing win vs City. I am even not that sad we dropped out of EL.. Getting the best of Gerrard and Balotelli and still not making them angry will be the toughest task for BR. Think Mario should start or get a half time at least today.

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  54. i agree with you you few changes cant hurt the team,but i personnaly opt for Sterling to give way for Sturlidge,and come on o the hour mark late in the game

    Do the team need GERRAND against burnley??NO,Let him be fresh for the FA @ the weekend

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  55. Markovic is doing fine but not great,i don't see him playing such bad football as some criticize.particularly he is defending and pressing very well than IBE,I give him my node for today's match

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  56. STURLIDGE in for sterling,give the lad some rest basically for team rotation,i would like to see Cutinho given some rest @the weekend also.Honestly i dont know why im not confident to watch the game against burnley,i see the final whistle settle the battle at 1-1 DRAW,may the team work and achieve the win neverthelees

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  57. Agreed re Cout's. Don't get me wrong, I agree with you in regards to that being where Sterling is most effective, I was just saying that was another option.
    We've got so many flexible players that can play multiple positions well and it gives us so many options.
    For the last ten years or so, our options have been almost non-existent. It's really refreshing to have depth now and the options it brings.

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  58. You mean would have been ideal. He's injured remember

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  59. I don't care about making them angry. Neither will likely be a part of this team next season. Team comes first.

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  60. I think that is exactly what needs to be done. Win your birthday present yourself Stevie.

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