5 Dec 2014

Probable LFC XI vs. SFC: £40m duo dropped? Shock debut for 'fantastic' youngster?

Whisper it quietly, but after a period abject form, Liverpool are quietly turning things around, and after two wins in a row (and three games unbeaten), the club is well placed to mount a Christmas assault on the top four. To that end, a win against Sunderland this weekend is essential. Can the Reds extend this mini-run, or is it just a flash in the pan?

Brendan Rodgers' injury update this week:

"Philippe Coutinho had a slight issue with his knee during the week but he should be OK"

"Jose Enrique is back in. We are having to manage his games, but he has trained and should be available"

"Balotelli is working with the medical team. Hopefully he'll be available sooner rather than later. Sturridge has gone away with some of our staff, doing specific work. He's coming along well."

First thing's first: there's no point getting carried away with the Leicester victory. No disrespect to the Foxes, but in terms of relative squad strength, Liverpool should be beating the league's bottom team 3-1.

A result like that is the bare minimum expected, especially for a team with Champions League ambitions; the players (and Rodgers) deserve no extra credit for that win; they basically did their job, which is to beat inferior teams.

As for the team: there's no reason to change things. Lallana, Hendo, and Gerrard all scored, so they should obviously keep their places. As I always argue, if an attacking player scores a goal, it should guarantee an automatic start for the next game.

It's important to build momentum and rhythm, and I don't see the sense in dropping players after scoring goals. They should be rewarded, not punished, and dumping goalscorers can have a negative impact on motivation/confidence.

Probable team:

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

Johnson ---- Toure - Skrtel ---- Moreno

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

-------- Henderson - Lallana

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

--------- Sterling -- Lambert

* Manquillo got pulled at half-time during the Leicester game, so it seems likely he'll drop to the bench for this game.

* Gerrard played further up the field in the last game and scored. The proof is in the pudding: play him in an advanced role, or not at all.

* Lucas and Toure should keep their places. With Lovren out of the team, Liverpool are winning games, and conceding fewer goals, so why change things? Yes, the Croatian cost £20m, but the team is performing better (defensively) without him, so he'll just have to accept it.

* Rodgers may spring a surprise and start Lazar Markovic. It's a home game, and the Reds are on a decent run right now, so it's a possibility.

* I've argued that Jones should be given a run in the team, and I still believe that he is a better option than Mignolet right now. Against Leicester, the Belgian made another terrible mistake that should've led to a goal. He got away with it, but better opposition will capitalise on errors like that.

* 'Fantastic' Jordan Rossiter, Sheyi Ojo, and Jerome Sinclair all trained with the first team, so there's a possibility that one of them may make their Premier League debut this weekend.

Predicting a 2-0 victory for Liverpool, Reds legend Mark Lawrenson noted:

"All of a sudden, the Liverpool players look like they have got some of their confidence back. Sunderland, generally, are difficult to beat but don't cause opponents enough problems and that will be the case at Anfield too".

My prediction: 3-1



  1. Those young players will be training for the Bournemouth game.

  2. Gerrard should be rested for Basel
    Coutinho back in if not fit can maybe Allen

  3. I would start Gerrard and sub in Coutinho around the 60 mark.

  4. Eric Garner: I was happy to see Americans coming together and protesting for a second night across different states.
    I went to New York back in 98.The big news over there at the time was a young teenage boy was kill2d by police.He was riding around on a BMX carrying a fake gun.They shot him 15 times.
    Obviously the Garner case was a chokehold de4th, but it's a similar situation.Police using excessive force and getting away with murd3r.

  5. People would always say that Gerrard and Lucas couldn't play in the same team, and I would tell them they are wrong. Finally my point is being proven. Yes both lack true legs, but the problems we had with both in the team were that they were being played as a double pivot, not their movement (Edit: I don't mean that it wasn't a factor, just not the main one). Gerrard frankly isn't great in that position, and he was stealing Lucas's "thunder" so to speak. No longer was his role to just shield the defense, but also cover Gerrard. Now that Stevie was in a more natural Attacking position, Lucas was left to play his own game, and Stevie's strengths are being used. Both are still just as limited movement-wise as before, but they are no longer relying on each other. They can most definitely play in the same team, just not as a double pivot

  6. I for one said they couldn't play in the midfield together. I stand by that if we played them as the two behind a three or in a diamond or three with one pivot. So basically not side by side or one being asked to be box to box. This way seems to be working but still think we lack legs. Glad Lucas is deep as he is tactically better than Gerrard. This current way seems to me the only way to play both but would still prefer Gerrard only playing a portion of the game rather than full ninety. He is better all action and we only get that in busts from him.

  7. I was thinking about heavy rotation but that shouldn't be the case. It's true we have our most important game of the season in tuesday but still I think it's better to start with the best and win tomorrow for the best preparation.

    Gerrard played well but I could still see Coutinho starting over him. Otherwise I would keep the same 11 that started against Leicester.

  8. rest gerrard and position countinho, sterling and lallana in positions close to lambert to link up

  9. So if a player does nothing for 89 minutes of a game, but scores a tap in you would guarantee them a start next game? Goals are what win you games but it is always the end a team game.

  10. Captain negative strikes again

  11. Well said. Well done Jaimie for highlighting these issues also.

  12. Got to beat Sunderland this afternoon. I would start Coutinho for Gerrard and maybe bring him on later if need be. I agree Lallana scored, so should start along with Toure and Lucas. Please don't concede anymore more silly goals LFC! But I seem to say that every week now.

  13. Jaimie,

    I bet you if Markovic starts the game we wont win and he wont score.
    I'd also bet that he'l be taken off before Full-Time.

  14. Mingolet

    Johnson Skertel Sakho Enrique

    Lucas Allen

    Henderson Can Lallana


    This team SHOULD be able to beat Sunderland.

    Gerrard Couthino Sterling Toure should be rested for CL

  15. Even if we beat Sunderland, which really we should anyway if we want to have any chance to move up the table, its the games against Manyoo and Arsenal that will determine whether we turned things around or not. And even still, we dont look a shadow of last years team, even when we do win.