7 Apr 2013

What a waste: LFC blow it against West Ham. Champions League dream over...?

Liverpool face West Ham at Anfield today, and depending how results go today, a win would move the Reds to within five points of the coveted fourth place slot in the Premier League.

Hopefully, Spurs will beat Everton this afternoon, and if Sunderland beat Chelsea in Paolo DiCanio's first game, then fourth place could be back on the agenda...if Liverpool don't slip up, that is.

Long-term injury victims aside, Brendan Rodgers has practically a fully-fit squad from which to choose, and the only injury worry - confirmed furing Friday's press conference - is Raheem Sterling, who is suffering from a niggling thigh injury.

This should hopefully mean that Daniel Sturridge returns to the starting line-up, and after sitting out the last game, he should be fit and raring to go.

If the striker does return, though, it hands Rodgers a bit of a dilemma as he can't fit Downing, Sturridge, Coutinho, Henderson into the same team, which means someone will have to miss out.

In my view, Henderson must start. He scored in the last game, and it would be abject man-management to drop him after his positive overall performance against Aston Villa. Players who score should (arguably) never be dropped in the next game, but Rodgers has a history of doing exactly that.

Coutinho should also start. He created Henderson's goal with a magical pass, and with two goals and three assists in six starts, he's earned his place.

Downing should be the one to make way in this game, which would be a tough decision as he's playing well. However, if players are included in the team on merit, then Henderson and Coutinho deserve it more (IMO). As such, I would go for the following team:

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

Johnson ------ Carra --- Agger ----- Enrique

------------------ Lucas

--------- Henderson -- Gerrard

Coutinho ---------------------- Suarez

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

Of course, there's always the possibility that Rodgers will just stick with the XI that beat Villa. After all, why change a winning team? If Sturridge is on the bench for the second game in a row, though, I doubt he'll be happy about it.

Andy Carroll will not play against Liverpool today, which is probably just as well considering he scored two goals last week. Joe Cole will also be missing through injury, which comes as no surprise whatsoever. Liverpool legend Jan Molby is confident the Reds will beat West Ham. He told the Liverpool Echo:

"In the meantime, his [Carroll's] absence for West Ham on Sunday is Liverpool’s gain. I would fancy the Reds to win in any case, but being without Carroll takes plenty away from West Ham, who don’t travel well in any case"

It's all well and good predicting a win, but Liverpool have slipped up several times this season against the so-called 'lesser' clubs, so hopefully there won't be any complacency at Anfield this afternoon.

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  1. I'd keep the same team. Give Sturridge a run from the bench, hopefully Assaidi can make the bench too and Rodgers makes full use of his bench unlike on a lot of occasions he only makes the one sub when there is a good opportunity to give Suso/Shelvey/others some chances.

    Hope it's a good game.

  2. Also hope Suarez won't be "inventing fouls" today, he is pushing 10 yellow cars apparently. We need him.

  3. We won, but it was an unconvincing performance again last week imho.

    The team looks MUCH better with Sturridge in attack with Suarez, and so until another forward arrives both SAS should always start together when available.

  4. I think we need to see what some of the other guys have to offer tbh - Gerrard has been great, but surely he doesn't need to play every game still.

    I'd like to see Shelvey or Henderson given a chance in the central midfield role, instead of trying to play high up the pitch, with Coutinho operating as a number 10

  5. thats something id like to see Jay ...apparently shelvey wants a shot at the lucas role....why not try shelvy , lucas , hendo

  6. BR shd drop downing en accomodate sturridge,downin hz improvd bt in dis ces sturridge shd start ez de focal point,suarez in the hole en countinho at de left wing hp the Reds smash de hammers YWNA

  7. I think Liverpools chances of champions league football are as good as over after that performance against the hammers there is no need of our manager being optimistic by saying we could stil qualify mathematically,even qualification for the Europa will be tricky only if chelsea wins the FA cup and remains in the top four,i think next season we should buy finished articles that will immediately make an impact but for now lets jst concentrate on picking as many points as we can and hope Everton,Arsenal and Chelsea drop some points