13 Feb 2016

Liverpool XI vs. Villa: 'Amazing' star returns? Triple injury blow; Surprise starts for Chrivella and Teixeira?

After last week's turgid home draw with relegation-threatened Sunderland, it's now one win in six league games for Liverpool, but the Reds have a chance to get back to winning ways this weekend with a trip to relegation-threatened Aston Villa. Three points in the bag...right?

Pre-match news:

* Brad Smith, Joe Allen, and Dejan Lovren are definitely out of the game.

* Martin Skrtel, Jordan Rossiter, and Cameron Brannagan also remain on the sidelines.

* Klopp confirmed on Friday that Steven Caulker 'is available' as are Coutinho, Sturridge, and Origi.

The big question of the weekend is simple: Should Klopp start Daniel Sturridge on Sunday? Reds legend Mark Lawrenson is in favour of throwing caution to the wind, but as I illustrated on Friday, playing Sturridge twice a week invariable ends in disaster:

Examples of Sturridge's historical injury layoffs after playing two games in a week:

* 2013 (NOV 19-23): Our for SIX weeks after injury

* 2014 (AUG 31-SEP 03): Out for FOUR months.

* 2015 (APR-04-08): Out for FIVE months.

* 2015 (DEC 02-06): Out for TWO months.

Keep 'amazing' Sturridge on the bench and use him as an impact sub. A few other points:

* Tiago Ilori played well against West Ham, and deserves (IMO) a place on the bench. Ditto Teixeira, and Chirivella.

* Lucas also had a great game, so why not continue to utilise him in central defence? Hell, just play Ilori and Lucas again - the team has nothing to play for in the league, so what's the difference? A Lucas/Caulker partnership is also an interesting prospect.

* Keep Lallana and Emre Can on the bench. The team is arguably much more fluid and decisive without them.

Seriously, Villa are bottom of the league, with the worst goal difference in the division. Anything but a victory is totally unacceptable. My preferred lineup:

------------------ Ward
Clyne ----- Caulker - Lucas ----- Flanagan
---- Hendo --- Chirivella -- Milner
--------- Coutinho -- Teixeira
---------------- Firmino


You have until Sunday @ 2.05pm (GMT) to participate.

* 20 Points: First goalscorer.

* 20 Points: First Liverpool player to get a shot on target (Excludes goals scored).

* 30 Points: Liverpool player with the most short passes (% as per OPTA - excludes Mignolet).

* 50 Point Triple-Whammy: Goalscorer + shot on target + short passes.

* The Gabriel Cash Mega-Bonus: 100 points. Perfect score + Goalscorer + shot on target + short passes

Oh, and my message to Roncalifornia, who knocked me off the top of the league this week:

Author: Jaimie K


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