2:45pm, live in the US on Setanta. I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to catch this match live, but at the worst I’ll see the replay at 9:15pm and have the review up by the morning.
Group stage so far:
Liverpool: 1-1 Atletico (h); 1-1 Atletico (a); 3-1 PSV (h); 2-1 Marseille (a)
Marseille: 3-0 PSV (h); 0-2 PSV (a); 1-2 Atletico (a); 1-2 Liverpool (h)
Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 0-0 Fulham (h); 2-0 Bolton (a); 2-4 Spurs (a)
Marseille: 2-2 Lille (h); 2-3 Lorient (h); 3-0 Grenoble (a)
Liverpool: Gerrard 4; Keane, Kuyt 2
Marseille: Niang 5; Cana, Cheyrou, Kone 1
Referee: Olegário Benquerença (POR)
Guess at a squad:
Arbeloa Carragher Agger Aurelio
Kuyt Gerrard Babel
Yeah, this might not happen, but I miss the 4-2-3-1. And if Gerrard’s back, I reckon this formation’s the best bet for more goals, which Liverpool clearly needs. Aside from Alonso for Lucas, this would be the same front six that faced Marseille in September.
But with Liverpool looking to get Torres and Keane on the same page, the 4-4-2’s still more likely. And if that’s the case, I expect Masch will be left out after last Saturday’s performance. Either way, there probably won’t be any changes to the backline.
Riera’s played a lot of matches lately, so even though Babel’s been no great shakes off the bench, I’m hoping he’ll get the nod. Maybe being on the pitch from the start, at Anfield on a European Cup night, will help push him toward the progress we’ve hoped to see from him this season.
A win here would seal qualification for the knockout rounds, while a draw would probably accomplish the same, depending on PSV’s result behind closed doors at Atletico.
But Liverpool can’t play it safe. The team’s been struggling to score, and Marseille has dangerous attackers in Ben Arfa, Niang, and Kone. Even after beating OM in the past two meetings, I still can’t purge last year’s 0-1 loss at Anfield from my memory. Valbuena, the goal scorer in that match, will miss out through injury, but Marseille still has enough skill and guile in their squad to punish Liverpool for any profligacy.