9 Feb 2016

Liverpool XI vs. W.Ham: Midfielder out; 'Amazing' attacker starts? Excitement as Klopp confirms return of Coutinho

After yet another Premier League debacle, it's back to FA Cup duty tonight, and Liverpool face current bogey team West Ham United, who've beaten the Reds twice already this season. Can LFC break this negative trend at Upton Park tonight?

Jurgen Klopp's pre-match updates:

* On Brannagan: "Cameron Brannagan is ill, which is a shame for him because he played really well [in the first West Ham game]".

* On Sturridge, Coutinho, and Origi: "Daniel, Divock and Phil are...hopefully in the squad for tomorrow. They can’t start all together, as a whole game will be too much".

* On using more experienced players: "It’s not like Exeter because a lot of players are now available and it’s good for them to play. So I think we will have a different line-up".

* On potential selections: "The full-backs will be similar, one of the other midfield positions will be similar, but then we can fill up with players who you usually would expect in the FA Cup".

Based on Klopp's (somewhat contradictory) statements, it's probably safe to assume that Clyne, Moreno, and Can will start against West Ham, with one of Coutinho, Origi or the 'amazing' Sturridge also in the starting line-up. I'd expect to see the following XI:

------------- Mignolet (Urgh)
Clyne --- Sakho --- Toure ---- Moreno
---- Milner ---- Stewart -- Can
-------- Lallana ------ Coutinho
---------------- Benteke

Team I'd like to see:

------------------ Ward
Flanagan -- Caulker - Toure --- Smith
------------ Lucas --- Stewart
---- Milner ---- Coutinho --- Teixeira
---------------- Benteke

In my view, it'll be an absolute travesty if Danny Ward doesn't start this game. Mignolet does not deserve to keep his place, and if persisting with him after yet another mistake is favouritism of the worst kind.

Ward is not cup-tied (he was on the bench for the last West Ham game), and if Klopp doesn't start him, then he's guilty of seriously impeding the young goalkeeper's development.

Ward was having a fantastic season at Aberdeen; he was playing every game, and part of potential title-winning team. What is the point in bringing him back to rot on the bench?

P. League

You have until Tuesday 7:45pm (GMT) to participate.

* 20 Points: First goalscorer.

* 20 Points: First Liverpool player commit a foul (that leads to an opposition free kick).

* 30 Points: Liverpool player with the most long balls (Extra 50 points for the exact number). Please use common sense - obviously, this does not include the goalkeeper.

* 50 Point Triple-Whammy: Perfect score + goalscorer + first foul (Possible points total: 120)

* The Howard Beale Mega-Bonus: 100 points. Something different for this match: simply predict the correct LFC starting XI, and win 100 extra points! DEADLINE: 6:30PM. This deadline will be strictly enforced (I'll be checking comment timestamps).

My prediction: 3-1 West Ham. Long balls: Flanagan (12). First foul: Benteke.

Author: Jaimie K


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