23 Sept 2013

Man Utd 1-0 LFC: The Sakho curse strikes again, or just plain bad luck...?

Liverpool face Manchester United this evening in the Capital One Cup, and given the defeat at the weekend, and the rivalry between the two clubs, it seems likely that Brendan Rodgers will select his strongest available team for the game. Rodgers shocked fans by selecting four centre-backs against Southampton at the weekend, but is he likely to do the same tonight? Let's hope not (!)

In his press conference on Monday, Rodgers confirmed that:

* Jose Enrique will return.

* Daniel Agger could feature, despite aggravating his rib injury against Southampton.

* Luis Suarez will definitely play some part in the game.

Liverpool put out a very strong team against Notts County in the previous round, and Rodgers will undoubtedly do the same tonight. As such, I predict Rodgers will field the following team:

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

Toure ----- Skrtel -- Sakho ----- Enrique

----------- Lucas ---- Gerrard

Henderson ------ Suarez ------ Moses

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

* Skrtel put in a man of the match performance against Man United earlier this month, and that may weigh in his favour. Having said that, given Rodgers' proclivity for using injured players, it's also possible we may see Skrtel dumped in favour of Agger.

* Toure should move back into central defence, but in the continued absence of Glen Johnson, Rodgers will probably keep the Ivorian out on the right.

* It would be madness to start Daniel Agger just three days after aggravating his rib injury. Rodgers confirmed that Agger did not train at all last week, and he's only had the opportunity to train a couple of times this week.

* It's possible Suarez could start on the bench, but I doubt it. Rodgers has been talking him up for the last two weeks, so now that he's back, why delay things?

I personally would like to see the following line-up:

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

Kelly ----- Toure -- Sakho ----- Enrique

----------- Lucas ---- Henderson

----- Gerrard --- Suarez ----- Moses

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

Enough with Gerrard playing as a deep-lying midfielder already! He is having zero impact in that role at the moment, and sometimes' he ends up playing even deeper than Lucas, which is utterly pointless. Push Gerrard higher up the field, and let him use his creative ability in the final third.

In my view it's criminal to have Gerrard playing deeper than Lucas, and that partnership is one of the main reasons LFC drop deep so much in the second half of games. Gerrard-Lucas just doesn't have the pace/recovery speed to play higher up the field for 90 minutes.

It would be great to see Luis Alberto given a chance, but I can't see Rodgers dropping Gerrard or Moses for him, especially against Manchester United.

There's also Joe Allen to consider. Despite being fully fit, the midfielder has played only 72 minutes of football all season, which suggests Rodgers doesn't fancy him at the moment. Ironically though, Allen could be just what Liverpool are missing at the moment.

Ball retention has gone right down the pan this season, and that is Allen's speciality, but with Lucas and Gerrard seemingly untouchable, and Hendo in the team on merit, I can't see where he fits in.

It would be a welcome shock to see Gerrard 'rested' for tonight's game, but that's never going to happen.

My prediction: 2-2 draw.

NOTE: Please stick to the Comment Policy (Click to read)


  1. Joe Allen has a hamstring injury.

  2. During his press conference, Rodgers didn't name Allen as one of the players currently injured.

  3. Your team looks good. I'd just keep Skrtel instead of Sakho. Totally agree with previous comments, that Kelly needs game time on the pitch.

    But as I have commented many times before, it's actually BR who is our weakest link. When things start to go wrong, or worse we start to drop deep in the 2nd half, he does nothing to change tactics or get the team to play another way. NO PLAN B as I put it.

    It is extremely alarming that in all 6 games this season we've been shoddy in the second half. That is BR's fault. Fullstop.

    The other worrying aspect for me is how quickly teams have picked up on Mignolet's poor kicking and distribution. By pressing him to punt up the field, we lose possession, since we don't have anyone who is decent at winning a high ball. That is one of the reasons for our poor possession stats.

  4. I have to say I like Jamie's team selection but I could see one of Ibe or Rahim on the wings and hendo or Lucas rested .Just a wired feeling he is gonna come out with a mixer of youth and experience players.

  5. Google is your friend.

  6. I'd prefer to see Sturridge given a rest today.

    While I want to see the guy play as much as possible, in the long run of this season, playing him too often will hurt us more than help us.

    If he's on the bench though and maybe plays 30-40 minutes, I'd be more comfortable with that.

  7. we really should give aspas a chance as a lone striker he did well in pre season ....this could be a true test if he is bad because he is out of position or of his depth........

  8. I agree with this idea. Have Suarez play behind him and see what Iago can do out there in his natural position.

  9. I would pick the same team as you JK except I would replace Lucas with Allen if he is available. Lucas is a liability imo. His tackling is too rash and he gives away too many fouls in dangerous areas. Also he brings nothing to the table attacking wise. I would also like to see Alberto given some time on the pitch. He scored a hat trick recently and he should be at least given a chance to prove himself...

  10. I very much like the look of your suggested lineup. I agree that Gerrard is having no impact currently in a deep role. He isn't playing particularly badly but we have one of the best Attacking midfielders in the world in Gerrard and his creative impact is being wasted in his current position. Pushing him further up the field and dropping hendo back will solve or biggest problems right now. We would see an immediate impact just from that simple switch.

  11. If Sturridge doesn't play he will play Aspas guaranteed.

  12. In a game we MUST win, for European football is far from guaranteed for us next season? Really?

    Give him a chance against Sunderland or something. We need to win. Don't be deluded.

  13. Gerrards is no longer one of the best midfielders in the world; attacking or otherwise!

  14. whatdoesitmatter....6:48 pm, September 25, 2013

    All i can say is expect to lose. Expect Rodgers to make easy-headed mistake, to not be series enough so we can conker this win. I wish i would have thought different, but i just can see the team that Rodgers WILL pick making it to pass the ball well enough. It's to bad because we really have good strikers there. He has to pick dynamic players who can pass the ball for midfield, and comfortable holding defenders. Sakho will cost goals today. Wisdom is going to be picked and disappoint again when Kelly is on the bench. Why is he on the bench, if he doesn't play when we need him? And we needed him several times since Johnson's injury.
    He will probably play the mid field you suggested and we won't touch the ball. He bought Alberto. Why doesn't he play him?

    Rodgers have spoke before this season and said he won't make the same mistakes he did last season when the team took the League Cup to casually. Well will see what he has to bring for the table today. If we don't at least play with dignity and as a team who knows what they are doing, when they get hold of the ball, then it's time to start looking for a new manager, owners, etc.

    That's my opinion.

  15. I disagree. He proved last season that he is still extremely good and has developed his game. I still rate him as one of the best midfielders around. He hasnt really got going yet this season but I think he will.

  16. Yeah because bayern Munich don't try to sign world class players do they?

  17. Need to win? Absolutely not.

    Would it be NICE to win? Absolutely.

    This is not the be-all end-all for our season.

  18. The games just finished. Another game that was there to be won has slipped us by. Man U were average at best, and yet we looked ordinary.

    All this is down to BR once more. I like the 3-5-2 formation, and think it will suit Liverpool, if it is deployed properly. But at times, it felt more like 5-2-1-2, with Moses not knowing how to use the free role.

  19. can't-take-it-anymore...9:51 pm, September 25, 2013

    And there goes European football down the toilet.

    Moses and Sturridge were poor but of course we have nothing to show for it. I guess Aspas and Alberto were bought just to look cool. Pathetic midfield. The team looks like it's going to break any second and all our chances seems to involve luck. But i guess Rodgers is happy because he has a great friend in Moyes that he can laugh with himself with. Alberto can score, Henderson can't. Why didn't he play. He can pass comfortably.
    The game was up for grabs for us. United were week and played their second choice line up. Great job Rodgers in the transfer window. He probably wouldn't understand we lost European football until his 90 or something.

  20. can't-take-it-anymore...9:53 pm, September 25, 2013

    Moses just ain't good enough. His completely limited. He should have played Sterling and Alberto from start who can lead attacks.

  21. can't-take-it-anymore...9:56 pm, September 25, 2013

    Pathetic proformance. Rodgers home. He can dream there about his jokes with un-intrested Moyes at his face. Moyes looked like he wanted to win more when he probably is going to coach a team in European competitions next year.
    We've seen enough. We get use to this sh!te which worries most - it's to much.