24 Aug 2015

Confirmed LFC XI: BR springs 4 surprises; £49m-duo return; injury blow for Lallana

It appears that Brendan Rodgers has finally seen the light (well, this week, at least). With Jordan Henderson out injured, Liverpool' manager has seemingly swallowed his pride and included Lucas Leiva in the starting line-up, something fans have been calling for all week.

FULL TEAM: Mignolet, Clyne, Skrtel, Lovren, Gomez, Milner, Can, Lucas, Firmino, Coutinho, Benteke

SUBS: Bogdan, Sakho, Moreno, Origi, Ings, Ibe, Rossiter

ARSENAL: Cech, Bellerín, Gabriel, Chambers, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud

* Playing Lucas is arguably the right decision, and it will hopefully allow Milner, Can, and Firmino to focus a little more on attacking.

* Leaving out Ibe is also the right decision. The young attacker had minimal impact (defensively or offensively) in the first two games, and after spending so much money this summer, there's no reason for him to play every week.

* Good to see Sakho back in the squad. Lovren will be under pressure now to maintain his performances; will he be able to handle the pressure or, like last season, will he crumble?

* Great to see Rossiter on the bench, too. If thigns go well during the game (i.e. Liverpool are 5-0 with 30 minutes to go, he might even get some playing time.

* Adam Lallana injured again? He is becoming as injury prone as Sturridge, and this will no doubt be used as another excuse for future underperformance. Well, it could be the beginning of the end for Lallana, especially if Firmino et al turn on the style.

* Bellerín, Gabriel, Chambers, and Monreal in defence for Arsenal? A severe lack of experience in that back four, and hopefully Liverpool can capitalise.

Overall, four nice surprise: Lucas in the team; Rossiter and Sakho on the bench, and Firmino in the starting line-up. This is the team I called for last week, and if it gels, then there's potential for Liverpool to put up a strong challenge for the points.

Hopefully, Rodgers will go with a 442 diamond, with Firmino playing off Benteke:

--------------- Mignolet
Clyne ----- Skrtel - Lovren ----- Gomez
---------------- Lucas
--------- Milner ----- Can
-------------- Coutinho
-- Firmino
-------------- Benteke

UPDATE: Rodgers' pre-match comments, made a few minutes ago:

"Firmino is a full international player and this is the perfect stage for him. Lucas is our best defensive midfield player, this is a good game for him to come into."


Unsurprisingly, lots of fans (47% of total participants) are going for an Arsenal win today, though a slim majority of 53% retain the hope that Liverpool can get a positive result.

Unfortunately, I just can't see the Gunners losing two home games in a row at the start of the season, but anything can happen in football, and if Liverpool somehow contrive to snatch a win, then it'll be a tremendous result. Here are today's predictions:

Liverpool Result

* 0-0: Siavash

* 1-0: enayat, Not You, FdotM, Nss Ssn, tigger1703, nick1811, Ashlee

* 1-1: Stipe, Y.O., Stuart C, Gagan Jit Singh Saini, keegan8912, SGMM, JockInTheKop, MzA, pocky, Shot callin OG, Nick87, RedWill, Razen, Tomkorn42, Syed Faraaz

* 2-0: LT1610

* 2-1: romper, scotthardy81, pandle, garfield, Robbie Williams, Coodakay, BEAST, Case, tartan360, AS007, lfcjai, Sav, adamblfc, Kibur Semachew

* 2-2: sudeep, Puga Nesh, sparks wilde, jcaw, Bilal Malik, nX3lemZ, Mr. Point Of View, Glen,

* 3-0: Craig

* 3-1: Rohan Anderson, DaBandit, Peter_Maxwell

* 3-2: Ronny, Vinnie, MICK THE RED, Linu, orme

If I've missed anyone's predictions, please leave a comment below.

Author: Jaimie K


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