29 Sept 2013

Predicted LFC XI vs. Sunderland: More surprises from BR? Midfielder to be dropped?

With Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Spurs all dropping points yesterday, Liverpool have a glorious chance to get right back into the mix today by beating Sunderland at the Stadium of light. The Black Cats are currently managerless, and rooted to the foot of the table, so anything other than a win is clearly unacceptable for a team with genuine Champions League ambitions.

Liverpool must win. It's that simple. Anything other than will (IMO) be an abject failure, and would undermine the Reds' steady progress over the last nine months.

In every conceivable way, Liverpool are superior to Sunderland, and with Luis Suarez also back in the fold, there's simply no excuse not to win the game.

In his press conference on Friday, Brendan Rodgers confirmed that Daniel Agger is back in contention for the game, which may see a slight defensive shuffle, but I doubt Rodgers will make wholesale changes.

Despite being subbed off in the last game (after accruing a FOURTH yellow card in five games) Lucas will inevitably be back in the starting line-up, but it would be so refreshing to see the Brazilian on the bench for a change. Does Rodgers have the guts to make that change? We'll see.

Also, will Rodgers persist with 352? Quite possibly. Despite the defeat to Man United, the system worked well at times, and the team needs to get used to it, so it may be utilised again. I expect to see the following team:

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

-------- Toure -- Agger ---- Sakho

Henderson ------------------------ Enrique

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

---------------- Moses

------- Sturridge -- Suarez

It would be harsh to drop Skrtel, who is playing extremely well this season, but he is the obvious choice to make way if Agger is fit, and it seems unlikely that Rodgers will drop £18m signing Mamadou Sakho.

Im my view, Moses is more effective coming from the flank, and playing him in the number ten role seems to curtail his game. He was tidy against Utd (short-passing etc), but offered no real penetration. As such, with the players available, I'd prefer to see the following:

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

Kelly ------- Skrtel --- Toure ----- Enrique

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

----------------- Gerrard

------- Suarez ----------- Moses/Alberto

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

Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson believes that now is *not* a good time to play Sunderland, and predicting a 1-1 draw, he observed:

"This is not a good time to play Sunderland. Their players are under a bit of pressure; there will be a big crowd and a lot of media attention. Liverpool would really want Di Canio to still be there because it would have been a completely different atmosphere. Instead, I would expect to see a response from the Sunderland players - and the crowd will demand one"

You just have to look at West Brom's shock victory at Old Trafford yesterday to see that so so-called 'lesser' teams shouldn't be underestimated, and Liverpool will hopefully go into the game with the right attitude and approach.

With four centre-backs deployed against Southampton, and 352 played in the Man Utd game, Rodgers keeps throwing up surprises and tinkering with the team, so it will be interesting to see what he does today.

Whatever team/formation he puts out, it's a must-win game, and if the Reds can't win against the bottom team in the league then the club might as well forget about Champions League football.

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  1. Time for real full backs to start games. Also Toure has to start. When he was CB, we had 3 clean sheets. Sunderland with Di Canio would probably be playing long balls and look for set pieces/corners to score. We have a poor record at the Stadium of Light but this time they just had a coach sacked and appointed one. To me we should be winning these types of games if we want to call ourselves contenders of CL spots, not to mention the league. A bloody golden opportunity. I hope we go for broke with a 4-4-2. No more tinkering and get the best 11 out there.

  2. I agree with Lawro (dont often say that) it would be better for us if Di Canio was still there. I expect to see a different attitude from Sunderland today. That said, no matter what the change in atmosphere in the club, they are still badly short of talent IMO, especially up front. I would expect us to keep a clean sheet today, but i do think we will find it harder to score than we would have two weeks ago. Caretaker coming in will always concentrate on defensive set up, especially after their recent run.
    But as Jamie says, if we expect CL we need to pick the locks on teams like this, and Suarez does like scoring here. I expect one or two nil.

  3. Hopefully we stick with 3-5-2 or even 4-3-1-2 could be deployed in 2nd half if things don't work in our favor. I hope to see Alberto in the No.10 role with a front three of Sturridge, Moses and Suarez would be even better.

    I don't think Sunderland would come as said by Lawro. I don't know if many people thought about it, but the sacking of Di Canio is not good for Borini as I doubt other managers would fancy him as much as Di Canio did.

  4. Spot on with the last comment. If LFC don't win today they can wave goodbye to a top four spot and champions league qualifications

  5. I dont understand why would BR experiment. Just when he started doing it, we started losing.

  6. Considering the way the season has gone so far, I wouldn't write us off just yet as its been a weird season thus far. I don't rate our squad that well and any other season before this, I would say no chance but this season is just mad so far.

  7. He thought we're doing so good that we can experiment anything, but it backfired real bad with the Southampton loss. Still, I think that can be fixed with the wins in upcoming matches.

  8. I never said Hello to top four..

  9. Not sure what will happen at the back. Sakho seems too far off the pace to keep playing him, so maybe if Agger is fit we'll switch back to a regular 4 defenders and Kelly will get his shot. But we didn't concede from free play so it's fair to say the 3-5-2 actually worked well. I'd say Suarez will be the one to come deepest and Moses will float around all over the place.

  10. With respect I stand by my original statement. Namely no win today no champions league position. I also predict MU will not qualify for champions league this season. Lets wait and see. !!!!!

  11. 10 points from 5 games has us right on pace for the 2ppg minimum that will be required to have us in contention for a top 4 finish at the end of the season.

    A win today is definitely required to keep the momentum going, before we come up with the more difficult runs of fixtures later on

  12. I don't think the 532 was particularly effective against Man U tbh - for all the talk, I thought that looked comfortably better than us and we posed little threat really.


  13. I like the preferred 433 selection @JK (though we know Gerrard won't get moved forward unfortunately) but Moses is as no more of an inverted winger than Downing was for me - he just has a bit more balls than Downing did.

    Get Moses out on the right and let Suarez drift about from the left in his place

  14. Give Gerrard a rest; Play Alberto, and either Ibe or Sterling for Moses, Is my suggestion. Moses is limited and when we lack creativity at midfield combined it withdraws force off the team.

    Also Kelly at right back, Toure, Skrtel or Agger; It's time to look like a team.

  15. With a big bold on the word 'team' at the end of the first paragraph.

  16. Agger has made more mistakes than any of our other CBs this season imo - including with the ball...

  17. Who would you go with? I'd actually be OK with a back 3 of Toure, Sakho and Skrtel, despite my earlier comment. It's just a feeling but I like what Sakho offers, it's only that he's unpredictable at the moment.

  18. Ya? I think he does somewhat 'quiet work' that's being way underrated, plus overall he gives much more confidence than Sakho when he plays. Then again, i suggested either him, or, Skrtel for the LCB position.

  19. I think Moses has been consistently good for us since he's arrived, I certainly rate him ahead of Ibe or Sterling.

  20. Toure Skrtel is the best go. If Rodgers plays that i will be overwhelmed for the good choice.

    Most important is that we produce a win today, and not a scrappy one. If BR pulls it off he starts earning some points back, which he needs very much imo. Good person but just too inconsistent and lack's self criticism [which is just a 'must' basically] in my book thus far.

  21. Can anyone hand on heart given the results we've seen this season predict ANYTHING?
    Jaimie, it's too early and the anxiety from you is obvious but the only way we'll know where we are is at is around the Middle of November.
    This must win business is true for all games not just this one today.

    What i can say thus far Ispas is not a threat and doesn't offer anything just yet.
    Why is Alberto even being considered when he's hardly played?
    The players that have EARNED there start for me are Skertel,Henderson,Sturridge,Mingolet & Lucas.

  22. He is definitely 'the better player', but notice how he struggles very much to create for others, make passes, and raise his head to see the whole picture.

    I am afraid he is limited in this area very much so, which makes him a limited player, and it's the same reason why he won't make it really big and failed to proof otherwise at Chelsea [I assume for i don't really know well enough what happened there]. It wouldn't be so critical and his individual strength would only be a good thing for such a game, if our team wouldn't seem to struggle so much in way of playing fluently and creating attacks rhythmly-like; Being a constant force with the ball most of all.

    Sterling and Ibe are more fluent and 'easy' players in my eye and are constant chances deliverers, creative pass suppliers [very important to get Suarez and Sturridge going at all].

    But we'll see how the game go. Right now i don't rate Moses very high and think he is not good enough to be first choice player for LFC. Maybe he will start to prove me way wrong today, i hope.

  23. The are big decisions to make Regarding team selection that only a manager with a big personality and strong character can make so dont expect any changes

  24. I'm not anxious, just stating the obvious, i.e. that LFC should be beating relegation fodder.

    LFC spent €8m on Alberto; he should be playing, otherwise what is the point in splurging that money on him?

  25. Skrtel has played well he deserves to continue and Agger should rest till fully fit. Moses was really average in middle so I doubt he'll be there again. Sterling has not played really well he really has too many outside problems. We need another scoring winger on the right cos aspas meant to play in front middle. Alberto should be given a chance in no 10 then he can be coutinho's deputy. Wasn't that the plan? Unless Stevie plays there.

  26. Very interesting for me to see that alternative view. I really don't agree, at least from what I've seen, but it sounds like you've got a pretty clear view of his ability so I'll have to see how he goes in this game.