21 Mar 2015

LFC lineup vs. Man Utd: £46m duo out? Defender returns? Surprise start for Balotelli?

Liverpool face Manchester United tomorrow in the Premier League, and after 13 league games unbeaten since December's 3-0 reverse at Old Trafford, the Reds now have a great chance to right that wrong, and leapfrog the Mancs in the table.

There's a pleasing symmetry to tomorrow's game: Liverpool's season-defining resurgence began at Old Trafford, and victory tomorrow will cap the resurrection, and put the club in pole-position to solidify a champions league place.

Team news:

* Lucas Leiva is back in full training, and will be 'assessed' ahead of the game.

* Mario Balotelli has recovered from a 9-day 'illness' and is available for selection.

* Jon Flanagan and Jose Enrique are also back in training, and it's conceivable that one of them may make a surprise appearance on the bench.

The big question is whether Steven Gerrard should start the game. When asked this week about this, Rodgers told reporters:

"He's back fit, and he's available now. He would like to play, but his support to Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen has been fantastic".

Rodgers specifically mentions Henderson and Allen, which suggests he's planning to keep that pair in place for the game, but Gerrard doesn't have to play in midfield; he can play further up the field, and in my view, he should start ahead of Adam Lallana:

* Even at the age of 34, Gerrard is a better player than Lallana, and offers more to the team in terms of passing range/ability, and impact from set-pieces.

* Lallana has only 1 goal/1 assist in the last 14 games, so he's literally a passenger in the team. He's not having a specific, measurable creative impact, so why does he deserve to play?

* The only advantage Lallana has over Gerrard is his ability to press, but that is not his primary role; an attacking player - whose primary role is to score/create goals - shouldn't just stay in the team because he's good defensively.

* Rodgers even dumped Lallana in the right wing-back position against Swansea; would he do that if Lallana offered a consistent threat behind the striker?

As such, I'd like to see the following team:

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

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

---- Sterling --- Hendo - Allen ---- Moreno

-------------- Coutinho - Gerrard

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

* If Gerrard tires, then simply replace him with Lallana or Markovic in the second half.

* Markovic is also an option at right wing-back if Rodgers wants to shake things up.

* Rodgers may spring a major surprise and start Mario Balotelli, but I can't see that happening.

* After another clean sheet against Swansea, Sakho will almost certainly keep his place, even though he looked a but shaky on the ball at times.

Predicting a 2-0 win for Liverpool, Reds legend Mark Lawrenson told the BBC:

"The pace that Liverpool have in midfield, forward positions and wide areas will prove too much for United, whose football is ponderous in comparison. I look at the two sides and see a big gap. Rodgers has found a system that works, and his team are flying".

I don't see anything but a win for Liverpool here. My prediction: 3-1

Author:



26 comments:

  1. Bold prediction JK, agree with your team and I think we will need to score at least two goals to win it. Must start the game at a high tempo and not give them any time on the ball the way tottenham did, will be a tight game but it would be great to batter them and go into the international break in fourth.

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  2. Lallana isn't a passenger. He may not have created as much as we might like much in terms of 'specific measurable impact' but he doesn't deserve to be disregarded as a waste of space like that. He offers considerably more than Gerrard in terms of discipline, pace and pressing of the ball, and has put in some terrific recent performances (Swansea wing-back experiment aside). Bollocks to SMI, anyone can see by watching him that he has a great touch and movement and an excellent work-ethic to boot. I like to call that 'Ambiguous Indeterminable Impact'.

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  3. Let's see some Raw Power tomorrow

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  4. last time JK predicted a win, we were all disappointed. Hopefully its not the case this time.

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  5. And make thenm look like Stooges

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  6. It did worry me a little, just added to the nerves.

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  7. Damn you Gene, you beat me to it :-)

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  8. Agree completely Ash. His pressing helps set the tone and tempo. Tempo will have to be high from the start tomorrow and he will be vital in this regard.

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  9. Think your right about AL but SG would add a cool head in a probably manic game, no pun intended.

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  10. Let's hope Louie Louie has No Fun and we Search and Destroy em

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  11. They shouldn't be too Hard to Beat. We have plenty of penetration.

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  12. I predict we'll win 3-0 tomorrow. Cout's, Lallana and Sterling up top for me, Markovic at WB. Pace on the flanks and high pressing through the middle will do for Man U I think.
    The ability to press is what makes our system so successful. I really don't understand why you're so dismissive of it

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  13. And I'm a naughty little doggie......

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  14. and make LVG look The Idiot

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  15. Set-pieces is the only thing that speaks in favor of Gerrard in my opinion. Gerrard was Liverpool's worst player in the last games before he was injured. Lallana should start, he fits Rogers system better right now.

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  16. Whatever the predictions, the season comes down to the next 2 matches. ManU tomorrow and Gunners Saturday after next. We have to win both. C'mon you Reds.

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  17. Go back to the city game and everyone was raving about Coutinho. He was great, but the reason he had all that space was because City played one holding midfielder and Liverpool had Lallana AND Coutinho in those advanced roles. In my view, watching Lallana play, I think he's been a very important part of the club's recent success. There are no stats for being the guy who draws a defender or makes the lead up pass before the pass that makes the chance for the goal. None the less Lallana still has the same number of goals in the league as Coutinho, he's created 27 chances and has 3 assists, one less than the guy who is supposed to be one of our creative leaders. All this from only 20 appearances and having to deal with an injury in his early games for the club. So for me I think it's clear that he's making a good contribution to the team, even if the simple goal/assist count in recent games doesn't make it obvious.


    All of the above is what I think Lallana has going for him in addition to his ability to press. He also presses relentlessly for 90 minutes and we know that pressing is vital for Liverpool, when the team is winning they are pressing well, that's just unquestionable. Against United, a team that can be shaky at the back, it's even more important, so I think it's wrong to underestimate that importance in this instance. Lallana can press incredibly well AND he makes good contributions to the team creatively, even if the stats are not obviously impressive. Plus the bottom line is that Liverpool are doing the business with Lallana in the team, not Gerrard. When the team is winning there is no need to mess with the formula. Gerrard will be an ideal player to come off the bench and play for 20-40 minutes, change the game up and do his usual thing without having to slog it out for 90 minutes and potentially get caught out in the midfield.

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  18. Dead-on for the prediction though, I think Liverpool will expose a poor United defensive set-up and take the chances they didn't at Old Trafford. United have the talent to score a goal but Liverpool are defensively brilliant in these past 10-15 games so getting more than 1 will require luck on their part.

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  19. Lallana is a better player than Gerrard at the point in their respective careers. Gerrard is obviously better than everybody in the Premier League at set-pieces but that's the only advantage he has over Lallana. Lallana is more likely to score from open play too, and faster than Gerrard. Gerrard can come on after 70 minutes to add some fresh legs and experience.

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  20. Where would you play Borini?

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  21. Scunthorpe?

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  22. At The Shed or Glanford park ?

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  23. Jaimie your line up , Allen against Fellani ??



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

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

    ---- Sterling --- Hendo - Allen ---- Moreno

    -------------- Coutinho - Gerrard

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

    I would change it a bit to cope with Fellani .

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

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

    -- Johnson --- Hendo -------Gerrard ---- Moreno

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

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

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  24. excellent points

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  25. imho, arsenal are clear now, cl for them. ditto city and the twats in blue, leaving 4th place open for a battle between us and the local twats

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