12 September 2008

Liverpool v Manchester United 9.13.08

7:45am Eastern Time, live in the US on Setanta

Last 4 head-to-head:
3-0 United (a) 3.23.08
1-0 United (h) 12.16.07
1-0 United (h) 03.03.07
2-0 United (a) 10.22.06

Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 0-0 Villa (a); 1-0 Liege (h); 2-1 Boro (h)
United: 1-2 Zenit (neutral); 1-0 Pompey (a); 1-1 Newcastle (h)

Referee: Howard Webb

Guess at a squad:
Reina
Arbeloa Carragher Skrtel Dossena
Alonso Mascherano
Kuyt Benayoun Riera
Keane

I hate this fixture. And with Gerrard and Torres most likely out, despite having trained today (I reckon that, at best, one or the other might be on the bench), I’ve no idea how Liverpool are going to line up.

Hopefully, as Liverpool wouldn’t have to fit both Torres and Keane in the team, Benitez will go back to the 4-2-3-1 that worked last season. But with Gerrard and Torres missing from that formation, who knows how potent it would be. A lot of pressure will fall on Keane’s shoulders, but he should be able to play in his preferred position tomorrow, and hopefully, that will make a massive difference.

In addition, it’s worth remembering that players were away with the international teams. For example, Masch only played Saturday’s game for Argentina, but Lucas, who started for Brazil on Wednesday, would have returned to Anfield quite late.

I still think I’d rather have Carragher-Skrtel-Agger-Dossena as the backline, but as we haven’t seen it yet, I’d be surprised if Benitez deploys it against the Mancs. Conservatism is usually the order of the day when they come to town.

Even though I put him in my guess at a squad, I’d also be surprised if Riera started, given it’d be his first game for the club and that he joined less than two weeks ago. But Liverpool’s often looked lost on the left, no matter if Benayoun, Babel, or Keane (?!?!?) has played there. Plus, Riera’s first match in England for Manchester City was against United, and the Citizens won 3-1. Let’s hope the trend continues. But if he doesn’t start, I reckon it has to be Benayoun or Aurelio on the left.

Seems likely Berbatov will make his debut for the Mancs, and I’m curious as to how Ferguson will play him, Rooney, and Tevez at the same time. The absence of Ronaldo probably leaves United little choice, and it’ll be interesting to see the midfield behind those three. Probably Scholes, Fletcher, and Hargreaves/Carrick (depending on fitness), but we’ll see. Pity Liverpool will the first guinea pigs.

We’ve seen all the articles about how Liverpool needs to turn around the recent record against United. Well duh. Not counting the 2006 FA Cup win, Liverpool hasn’t beaten the Mancs since 2004, and hasn’t won at Anfield in the league since 2001. It’s gotten unbearable. No better time to silence the critics and reverse that history like the present.

12 comments:

Mike Georger said...

this game will set the tone for the entire season. if we lose, the consensus is its over. if we draw, we are still alive. if we win, we have to be the favorites.

that being said, neither gerrard or torres should start. this appears to be the same injury torres had early last year, we rushed him back against arsenal and he looked awful. and gerrards injury has been nagging, i dont think he can be risked.

Paul Heron said...

Even if our fears ring true and they beat us [again], it's by no means the end of the world.

Last time I checked there was 38 games in the Premier League. This is just one of them.

Also if we win, it's far too early in the season to be celebrating (well, ok, maybe a few pints tomorrow won't go astray!).

I agree completely with Mike Georger about taking things easy with G&T, not worth risking losing them for even more games.

Starting11 said...

Torres and Gerrard reportedly are fit to play. Question: What's more important, Liverpool winning and staying top of the table, or United losing and having only four points from three games?

Starting11 said...

http://startingeleven.blogspot.com/2008/09/gerrard-torres-ready-to-return-for.html

nate said...

Naturally, I post this before Benitez's press conference where he declared Torres and Gerrard fit. Unfortunately, this is going to probably happen more often than I'd like, because I'm not around after 8:30am on Fridays til like now, at best. So unless it's a Sunday/Monday game, I'll have these previews up around the time this one was. Which I'm not thrilled about, but such is life.

Regardless, I still agree with Georger, Paul, and what I wrote. I don't think either Torres or Gerrard should start, even though this is against the Mancs. Last year's Arsenal game is a prime example, and yeah, as Gerrard's had this problem for a while, it needs time to heal.

However, if either, as a starter or sub, contributes to a win, I will wholeheartedly eat my words.

Mike Georger said...

i didnt mean to suggest the season would be over, just thats the attitude that the peanut gallery will take. the 'nothing has changed' argument, which truth be told is valid if thats what happens. but yes the season is obviously still young, but if last season is any indication we need as many points early as possible

Ace Cowboy said...

I'd sit Torres with the CL matches coming up this week and bring him on for the last 30. I think I'd go with Dagger, but it's a total tossup for me. Skrtel is fine by me as well. Eventually I'd like to see Skrtel and Dagger in the middle with Carra on the right some more.

Reina
Arbeloa - Carra - Dagger - Dossena
Masch - Alonso
Kuyt - Gerrard - Babel
Keane

Bring on Torres at 60 for Kuyt, move Gerrard out wide and put Nando in front of Keane. Riera for Babel at some point. Save a sub for injury or late late sub (Yossi) for Gerrard.

Abhiram said...

I am quite sure we'll play a very defensive game today(quite normal nowadays!). If Benitez has the bottle to ask the lads to play at their attacking best and we still lose, i will still be the happiest guy in the world. But if we play conservatively, only going on the counter and pretty much defending the whole game.... can't say much about that. I support Benitez btw! But i don't like the fact that he still thinks he has a poor team which should defend all the time and grab goals only on the counter. He gives far too much importance to defense and and as a consequence, very less on attack.

All of us know Gerrard and Torres are very important to us, but, we should be able to win a match without them (against any opposition). All we are asking is win one match without the duo, not the premiership! ( I hate it when people say we are a two-man team and we can't win anything without them. I for one would like to see a change in that aspect.

Mike Georger said...

two years, two unmarked goals by tevez. its too early in the morning for this shit

Mike Georger said...

didnt lay down once they let that goal in, created several good chances, got a lucky fuckup from vds. ill take it.

babel on for dirk. stevie on for yossi. make a defensive sub at 70

Mike Georger said...

please hold onto this boys

we need this badly

Mike Georger said...

oh man. this is the happiest ive been in a long time. cannot underestimate how big this is.

fuck you ferguson
fuck you fat rooney
fuck you ghost berbatov
fuck you dirty vidic
fuck all of you

the king is to us now you filthy cocksuckers