23 Nov 2013

LFC predicted XI vs. Everton: LFC star facing giant INSULT from BR? Striker out...?

We're back! The Premier finally returns today, and the first game of the weekend program is the hotly anticipated Merseyside derby. A win for Liverpool today could see the Reds overtake Arsenal at the top of the Premier league table, but with Everton in fine form this season, and Romelu Lukaku looking torment the club once again, it's inevitably going to be an incredibly tough game.

On the injury front:

* Jose Enrique is definitely out, and is set to undergo knee surgery.

* Daniel Sturridge is currently suffering from a 'dead leg' but is expected start this afternoon's game.

Apart from the that, Rodgers has close to a full strength squad from which to choose. They key questions today are: who replaces Enrique, and will Rodgers stick with four at the back?

Luckily, Liverpool have a range of options to cover the left-hand side of the team:

- Daniel Agger or Mamdou Sakho could deputise at left-back.
- Glen Johnson has experience in the position, and is excellent there.
- Aly Cissokho is, of course, available.

Despite the range of options available, Rodgers is surprisingly considering playing Jon Flanagan (out of position) at left-back:

“I'm not concerned about that position. Cissokho and Flanagan can both play there. Whether Jon has played at right-back or left-back he has never let the team down.”

I may be wrong about this but I don't believe Flanagan has ever played at left-back in a competitive game for LFC. He is a right back, and I don't see the sense in playing him out position when Agger or Cissokho - natural left-footers - are available.

I'm not a big fan of Cissokho, but it's always preferable (IMO) to play aces in their places, rather than using inexperienced players out of position. Additionally, what is the point of bringing in left-back cover then ignoring the player when the first choice left-back gets injured? If Flanagan starts ahead of Cissokho on the left, it will be a massive insult to the French defender, and he will have every right to feel aggrieved.

Daniel Agger, on the other hand, is a different story. The Dane is a top-class international defender who is more than capable of playing at left-back, so if Rodgers selects him to play there, Cissokho can have no complaints. There's also the possibility that Flanagan could come in at right back, with Johnson moving over to the left.

And what about Kolo Toure? Is Rodgers going to bench him for the second game running? I hope not. He didn't play during the international break, and he hasn't played a game since the 2nd November, so hopefully the Ivorian will come back into the team.

Rodgers will hopefully stick to 442/433 for this game. Reverting back to 352 would be a massive mistake (IMO), especially after such an emphatic victory during the last game. As such, I hope to see the following line-up today:

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

Johnson ------ Toure ----- Skrtel --- Agger

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

------------- Hendo -------- Gerrard

------------------- Coutinho

------------ Suarez ------- Sturridge

* Sakho played for France during the week; Toure is fresh, so he should get the nod (IMO). That's what the squad is for, is it not?

* Having said that, after scoring two goals for France, Sakho will probably expect to play, and Rodgers may play him as a result of that, probably at the expense of Toure.

* After his recent public comments, Agger seems certain to start. Only yesterday he was back in the media, stating how he is 'tempted' by a move to Barcelona (yet more veiled threats). If Agger is dropped for the derby, he will not be happy.

With the above in mind, Rodgers may decide to go with one of the following line-up:

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

Johnson ---- Skrtel ----- Sakho --- Agger

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

------------- Hendo -------- Gerrard

------------------- Coutinho

------------ Suarez ------- Sturridge

If Daniel Sturridge is not fit enough to start, 433 is a possibility:

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

Johnson ---- Skrtel ----- Sakho --- Agger

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

----------- Hendo -------- Gerrard

------ Moses ----------------- Coutinho

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

Predicting a 1-1 draw, Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson warned the Reds that they face a 'big test' against Everton. He observed:

"As far as Liverpool are concerned, it is a big test - firstly because they are away to another team in the top six and secondly because it is a derby against their local and fierce rivals. I am looking forward to the game and I think it will be an indication of how far up the league both teams can finish. I also think it will end in a draw".

Lawro claims that Lukaku has 'gone off the boil', but he still has 5 goals/1 assist in 8 games for Everton this season, and after he tore the Reds apart last season, scoring two goals in two games, he is a real threat.

Anfield hero John Aldridge disagrees with Lawro about Lukaku, and he believes the key to LFC victory is stopping the powerful Belgian striker. He told the Liverpool Echo:

"To me, the key for Liverpool is finding a way to stop Romelu Lukaku. He’s the main threat they carry, and if you nullify him, I think you nullify Everton. Lukaku terrified Liverpool twice last season, whilst playing for West Brom. Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger will be well aware of the big Belgian’s abilities".

Skrtel is performing brilliantly this season, but I don't fancy him - or Agger - against Lukaku. Sakho is a strong defender (physically), but in my view, Kolo Toure is best equipped to deal with the Belgian. Liverpool need leadership, organisation and vocality in defence today, and that is exactly what Toure brings to the team.

One slight cause for concern is the club's performance after international breaks. So far this season, LFC have failed to win after both previous breaks (2-2 against Swansea, then 2-2 against Newcastle), and in the latter game, the Reds couldn't beat ten men.

My prediction for today: 2-2, or 3-2 to Liverpool. If Rodgers goes with 352 - an Everton victory.



  1. Stretching the definition of 'star' to the extreme here! I thought that the comments about flanno in the presser were really strange. Maybe bringing him in at RB, and switch GJ would be most likely. Maybe it's just a ploy to give the young lad some confidence and praise for a good week in training.

    Hope for a win, but will be tight I think.

  2. I wouldn't be too worried about Flanagan. The player who made mince meat of our CB's last season is Lukaku. Skrtel and Agger as a CB pair against the big powerful forwards is the problem here. Add to that a lack of mobility in midfield which brings even more problems.

    Please BR, play Toure and Sakho today!

  3. yep,
    you are wrong. flanno has played LB a couple of times under Kenny and was surprisingly ok.

  4. We play poorly after an international break. Really hope that isn't the case today. I hope Gerrard and Lucas can handle the midfield.Must-win game! The 433 lineup is preferable to me if Sturridge isn't fit enough for today.

  5. I agree with the first team above. I'd like to see Toure in there. And then Agger can go on the left.
    Dont agree that Cissokho has the right to feel aggreived at being dropped for Flanagan. He hasnt taken his chances when he had the chance, and I dont fancy him one little bit.
    I think Flannagan has played left back in a proper match, could be wrong but I think Kenny played him there towards the end of the season and I dont think he did too badly.
    BIG game though, and a good result would be massive for momentum and confidence.

  6. I have no problem playing Flanno ahead of Cissokho.

    I not 100% sure im right but didnt BR play different players ahead of Enrique last season and Enrique worked his butt off n showed some of the best form he has in a red shirt.

  7. I think he will start Cissokho at left back from his comments, he clearly said that Cissokho and Flanagan both are options and it is not a problem.
    I hope he starts as well as Sakho. My team would be:

    Such a balanced team!

  8. No, he only featured at right back. During that time, Robinson was also in the squad, and he covered left back.

    Flanno has played left back in some friendlies, and for a little while in the youth setup he actually played centre mid.

  9. Your first line up is a strong one the i understand.
    I also see this possibility:



    I guess same problem as ever mostly. Our football will depend mostly on how our midfield preforms in this specific day. Both Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson as to play brilliantly in order for us to take the game.

    Anyways ya, complicated CB's scenario for BR. I expect him to achieve a stable team performance-wise at the Fulham game level in 3 games from now, and to improve on that going threw the season.

  10. Johnson left back toure right go with experience in thes games Flanagan was exposed at arsenal and will be again here if he plays cissokho has not looked like a Rodgers type of player very akward looking and not technical. Think we should go for Bertrand in jan him and. Jonno full backs be decent an cheap .

  11. Leaving the CBs aside a sec, or not really hard to say: No doubt this is the strongest XI; It's all about getting our midfield comfortable and feeding the attack well. The combinations at the back which is presented will ease unneeded stress that is the poison of our midfield. Very pleased with this XI.

  12. If we are looking for an upgrade then Bertrand is not an upgrade on Enrique for me. He is better offensively but suspect defensively,while Enrique is really solid while defending but frustrating with the ball.
    Plus Cissokho was brought in as the back up LB, he has had one bad game. I think we should give him one more chance as he was decent in the last two games.
    Although I don't mind your team but I don't want Skrtel at CB so KT has to play CB IMO.

  13. we play away...532 i think

  14. I'm for a 2-1 for liverpool. Suarez scoring a brace.

  15. 451 or 4231 is my preferred formation. We hv to take control of midfield n stop supplies to lukaku. Quick Counter attack play better imo.

  16. I agree if the 352 is out is a everton win, Id go for a 442 but no way cissokho to be there, dont know if agger can fill the lb rightly or even johnson, hoping daniels fit if not then id play gerrard with suarez up front hendo lucas dm but rodgers never does that, or even moses, hoping there wont be a shock like flano at arseanal..

  17. Just like Spearing a couple of years ago, I think we're wasting time with Flanagan - I just can't see him ever being good enough to be a legitimate option for a quality team.

    I would just play Cissokho at left back, but if Rodgers does insist on playing players out of position, I'd hope he goes with Johnson at left-back and Kelly at right-back.

  18. The 433 is preferable to me whether Sturridge is fit or not!

  19. Assuming that Sturridge really is unfit, I'd swap Moses in for him, put in Sakho to take on Lukaku, and invert the triangle in the midfield to have Gerrard pushing up alongside Henderson as opposed to sitting back alongside Lucas.


  20. sturridge on bench allen starts!