16 Jan 2015

LFC line-up vs. AV: Huge injury boost; Shock start for 'unplayable' attacker? €20m star out again?

With only one loss in eight games, Liverpool are slowly beginning to turn things around this season, and despite seven league defeats overall, the Reds remain in touching distance of a top four place. ASton Villa are up next for Brendan Rodgers' team, and depending on other results, a victory at Villa Park could put Liverpool right back in the mix for a Champions League place.

Pre-game news:

* Raheem Sterling is back in contention after his recent mid-season break, and according to Rodgers, he is 'refreshed and ready to work'.

* Jordon Ibe has returned to Anfield and is in contention for 'immediate selection'.

* Glen Johnson is 'back in training' and is may be considered for a place in the match-day squad.

* Rodgers is 'monitoring' Adam Lallana, who is 'back on the field' after his injury.

* Steven Gerrard is 50/50 to make the Villa game. If he's not fit then he'll be back 'hopefully by the Chelsea game'.

* Daniel Sturridge is 'back and working well', but Rodgers concedes that he's 'not ready to play as of yet'

* Jon Flanagan is still a 'little bit of time off' [from fitness]"

* Joe Allen 'should be back training with the group in the next couple of days', which suggest he may also be in contention for a place in the squad.

With Sterling back, and Gerrard probably out/rested, I expect to the see the following line-up

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

------- Skrtel - Lovren ---- Sakho

----- Can -- Hendo --- Lucas --- Moreno

---------- Coutinho -- Markovic

---------------- Sterling

* Lovren has to come back into the team at some point, and with Rodgers raving about him during the Croatian during his press conference this week, it's possible his exile may be about to end.

* I really hope to see 'unplayable' Ibe on the bench. Rodgers stated that he brought him back 'to contribute', so he should be given the chance to do just that, even if it's only for 20 minutes. There's also an outside chance that Rodgers may surprise everyone and start Ibe, and rest one of Coutinho or Markovic for the Chelsea game.

* Will Balotelli continue to warm the bench? It's hard to see where he fits in at the moment. Sterling is doing well up front; Coutinho has found some form, and Markovic is also looking a little better.

On paper, Liverpool are a much stronger team than Villa, but Anfield legend Mark Lawrenson insists that the Midland club will get something out of the game. He told the BBC:

"Liverpool are going well but I just think Villa will get something out of this game - they have to, really. Some fans will look at Villa's record and think this is an away game that the Reds should win easily, but there is no such thing".

My prediction: 3-1 Liverpool.



  1. I hope to see Ibe on the bench as well, possibly some minutes. Perhaps unlikely, but still a great talent.

    Unless BR goes crazy again and randomly changes the formation, I expect to see the lineup JK posted. The only variation would be Can for Lovren, and Manquillo at WB.

  2. 3-1 but only if we press and attack. If we play safe in our own third.... I guess we'll all be keeping an interesting eye on Delph's play.

  3. Fully agree with the lineup, I've said for a few weeks now we need to get Sakho, Skertle and Lovren playing together.

    Also gives us a strong midfield, although I would swap Henderson and Lucs over so we are nor off balance regarding size.

  4. No Lovren Please. Skrtle in the middle of defense with Can Flanking him on the Right. Lalana(if Fit) or Manquillo should flank Hendo on the right. my pick.

  5. Anything goes..so long we win

  6. I don't see Skrtel being dropped for Lovren.
    A section of Villa fans are staging a protest tomorrow and boycotting the first 8 mins of the game - a minute for every year Randy Lerner has owned the club. That is bound to unsettle a young team already low on confidence. We need to go for the jugular from the off against Villa, the way we used to last season. If we score a couple early they'll collapse

  7. Lovren came on against Sunderland and was again the worst player on the field. I hope he doesn't play. Keep Can in defence and play Manquillo or Markovic at wing back.

  8. Improving results...maybe. It was previously can't defend or attack but the defence has been a little better with Sakho playing really well recently and deserving credit for stiffening our hugely suspect defence.

  9. Optimistic.....let's hope so.

  10. Emre Can...

    It is a skillset that served the Frankfurt native well at his previous employers and means he understands the crucial factors in defending successfully.

    Analysing the task of a centre-back, the German said: "Now when I get the ball there is nobody behind me, I've got the whole of the pitch in front of me.

    "When you play there, sometimes you need to have better awareness of position, because if you are in the wrong place you can easily concede a goal. So you can't afford to make too many mistakes."

    Maybe Skrtel can take a few tips from Can?

    Hopefully it is another three points in the bag.

  11. I think Live will win with a cleen sheet.

  12. Can is showing how truly versatile players react when they are asked to play in different roles. He's been good no matter when he goes and that's been across the park, both in defence and attack. He's showing the kind of versatility that Gerrard has shown through his career and he's only just turned 21. I think that's very impressive. Quite a few players have struggled with what Rodgers asks of them, some of them have had public tantrums over it. Can has simply gone about his business and played well in every single position. If anything this requirement to play in different positions is enhancing his underlying quality and growing him as a player. I think Rodgers was spot on with this signing and he'll only continue to get better.

  13. Shame Buck Rogers will never understand the crucial factors in defending successfully. Maybe he could learn from young Can.

  14. I thought Markovich played on the right last match

  15. Lovren can come on with 5 mins left and we are 3-0 up otherwise boot cleaning duty- at another club

  16. Good line up. Ibe for Moreno.

  17. What has Lovern does to deserve a recall at the expense of Can?

  18. He did, my concern was if we moved Can into the right midfield role and Henderson along side him in the middle, they are both stronger physical players, leaving Moreno and Lucas who are both smaller on the centre left and left midfield role.

    Looking at the team that will play makes no difference as Can staying in defence. Pity Lovren is not even on the bench, will never get his confidence back.

  19. Cheers mate, YNWA!