24 Feb 2012

LFC Legends tell Kenny: Under-pressure star must start against Cardiff...

Liverpool legend John Aldridge believes that Kenny Dalglish has a 'nightmare' team selection issue for the Carling Cup Final against Cardiff, but both he and former team-mate Jan Molby agree on one thing: Dalglish should keep faith with in-form Andy Carroll and start him alongside Luis Suarez on Sunday.

With such intense competition for places, there are definitely going to be some disappointed players on Sunday. There's no real way Carroll, Steven Gerrard, Craig Bellamy, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, Jay Spearing and Jordan Henderson can all fit into the same team, especially if Kenny opts for a 442 system.

The midfield positions will inevitably be the most difficult to decide, but when it comes to strikers, Molby and Aldridge have no doubt that Carroll should get the nod alongside Suarez. Aldo told the Liverpool Echo:

"Where I wouldn’t expect Kenny to spend too long deliberating is up front. For me Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez have to start. Both are playing well, both had the confidence boost of a goal on Sunday and both are players Cardiff will have their hands full trying to contain".

Also speaking to the Echo, Molby added:

"I would expect Liverpool to start with Andy Carroll and Suarez up front together. For me, that is the way to go. Andy got a goal against Brighton, albeit not a decisive one, but if he doesn't play in the next game – Sunday's cup final – then he'll probably ask when he will get his chance, but I expect him to start".

Given Kenny Dalglish's constant public support of Carroll this season, it seems likely he will start him on Sunday, but if he does so, will Carroll's inclusion mean that Liverpool are playing their strongest possible team? I don't think so.

For me, Liverpool's strongest available team does not include Carroll. Given the fact that Cardiff regularly play a 451 with Kenny Miller up front by himself, I would go for the following team:

------------------------ Reina

Johnson ----------- Skrtel ---- Agger ------------- Enrique

------------------ Adam ----- Gerrard

Kuyt ----------------- Bellamy ------------------- Maxi

---------------------- Suarez

Obviously, I would prefer to see Johnson on the right and Kelly behind him but we all know that is not going to happen.

Playing Adam and Gerrard together in the middle is not the greatest solution but against lower-league opposition, you have to believe that they can handle it.

If Cardiff do play a 451, I don't see the sense in playing 442 and allowing Liverpool's midfield to become overrun just to accommodate Carroll.

After the last few games, I don't see how Henderson or Downing deserve a place in the team. Maxi has scored important goals this season, and he's proven that he plays well with Suarez and Bellamy, as does Dirk Kuyt.

The alternative is a 352, which would provide more flexibility, and if Cardiff do go with 451, then three centre-backs would be more than enough to cover Miller (you would think).

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. He has been poor initially but he is getting better, though still not at a acceptable level for me, not even close. But he is going in the right direction at least. Because his start at the club was awful, some people are getting carried away with his improved form at the moment, which is understandable as some people don't like to criticise their own players and don't want to think about the mammoth fee. 

    And to be fair, our most penetrative attacking spells of late have been long balls to Carroll, rather than our usual passing game.

    I would play it safe and go with Carroll on the bench. Cardiff are a team that like to play good football, well they did in previous seasons under Jones as I haven't seen much of them this season. So I think we will cause them big problems on the counter attack, so Bellamy is a must for me, absolute must.

  2.               pepe
    johnson skrtel agger jose
    maxi gerrard adam bellamy
            carroll suarez

    subs: hendo downing shelvey kuyt kelly carra doni

  3. Carroll looks very promising to start. If I were Kenny, I'd have a hard time picking the starters too. It's easier to pick who shouldn't start! And they'd be Downing and Henderson. We'd want all 11 of our starters to be 100% involved and we're definitely not going to get that from Henderson for now. Any 3 of Maxi, Kuyt, Bellamy, Suarez and Carroll would do it for me, that means there will always be 2 left out - depending on whether we want multiple goal threats or guile and either ways, this leaves no room for Downing.

  4. Yes, it is funny, he has improved, but, probably due to the Chelsea witchunt, he hardly seems to be under pressure any more. There is so much hype in football at the moment, the media seem to decide what is true or not a lot of the time. As long as AVB is still in a job and, to a lesser extent, Wenger, Carroll will be pretty safe from criticism. I think the team will start with Carroll, Suarez and Bellamy on sunday. Gerrard operating more defensively and Adam playing alongside him. Downing and Bellamy playing wide.

  5. I think 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2 is the formation we should go with, we know Cardiff will be looking to catch Liverpool on counterattack but we have to play to our strengths. Though i like your lineup but i think Carroll should start, my lineup would be Reina Johnson Skrtel Agger Enrique Gerrard Adam Kuyt Bellamy Suarez Carroll.

  6. Reina
    johnson Skrtel Agger Enrique
    Bellamy Gerrard Adam Downing
    Carroll Suarez
    That would be my team

  7. Reina




    Doni, Kelly, Carra, Shelvey, Maxi, Downing, Kuyt

  8. I dont think Carrol should start. Maxi, Suarez and Bellamy is an awesome strike force. Gerrard should start with Shelvey.

    If we have to worry about what formation cardiff will play then its a disgrace. We should set the stall out and let Cardiff worry about how to play.

  9. KK will start with Rafas back defensive marvels in Reina,Skertel,Agger the marauding Johson and KKs Enrique who is starting to look suspect after a great start.John Henry is coming over to wembley so its obvious to me he will have Gerrard,Adam/spearing,Henderson,Downing,Suarez and Carroll starting.Dalglish wants to give his expensive British buys experience of winning a wembley final in front of John Henry hoping it will give them the confidence to improve.This cup is for the English players KK bought,doubt if Maximillion,Kuyt, will be chomping at the bit to play.Bellamy himself said hes not interested in medals and im not sure he will like scoring against his home town club at wembley either and can he last 100 minutes in a energy sapping wembley.

  10. I think Gerrard and Adam play very well together and for Jose he is very suspicious especially when he toss and turn with the ball it really get to my nerve..I also think Downing should start.Bellamy should come on if Downing doesn't perform.Go Liverpool make me proud!!!!

  11. Dalglish has proven, with his transfer buys and his mind numbing team selections that he is at best an average EPL manager but if he starts Carroline over Bellamy then he is an utter moron..Carroline has done nothing to prove that he belongs in a top EPL club.. the lemmings that think he is anything more than mediocre crap are same people that think that every player that wears the shirt deserves support and respect no matter what the obvious evidence says!

  12. I'm sure Kenny has taken account of all the expert football managers (ie JK and Aldridge) and made alterations to his plans.

    Aldridge has lost it recently.  And the author of this article clearly thinks they deserve to be LFC manager.  Opinionated? Moi??

  13. Are you two years old?  Or not a LFC fan?

    Clearly have done no research at all into how different builds of players develop.  Carroll is still developing and is doing ok - he was bought for potential.