13 April 2009

Liverpool at Chelsea 04.14.09

2:45pm on espn2. Chelsea lead 1-3 on aggregate.

Knockout Rounds:
Liverpool: 4-0 Real (h); 1-0 Real (a)
Chelsea: 2-2 Juve (a); 1-0 Juve (h)

Group Stage:
Liverpool: 3-1 PSV (a); 1-0 Marseille (h); 1-1 Atletico (h); 1-1 Atletico (a); 3-1 PSV (h); 2-1 Marseille (a)
Chelsea: 2-1 Cluj (h); 1-1 Bordeaux (a); 1-3 Roma (a); 1-0 Roma (h); 0-0 Cluj (a); 4-0 Bordeaux (h)

Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 4-0 Blackburn (h); 1-3 Chelsea (h); 1-0 Fulham (a)
Chelsea: 4-3 Bolton (h); 3-1 Liverpool (a); 2-0 Newcastle (a)

Goalscorers (Europe):
Liverpool: Gerrard 7; Kuyt, Torres 2; Dossena, Babel, Benayoun, Ngog, Riera 1
Chelsea: Drogba 4; Anelka, Ivanovic, Terry 2; J Cole, Essien, Kalou, Lampard, Malouda 1

Referee: Luis Medina Cantalejo (SPA)

Guess at a squad
--------------Reina
----Skrtel Carragher Agger
Arbeloa------------------Aurelio
----Mascherano---Alonso
Kuyt-----------------------Babel
--------------Torres

All the news today, whether it’s BBC or the official site, suggests Gerrard will be fit to start. And whether he starts will show how serious Liverpool’s taking this game and how serious his injury is. I've got a sneaking suspicion that these reports are subterfuge from Liverpool, and if Gerrard’s truly got a niggling injury, it’s right to save him for the league. And that makes me think that we’d see something completely out of left field, a la Pompey in February. Chances are I’m wrong, but it’s an interesting idea to contemplate.

What I don’t want to see is the same line-up – plus Mascherano, who would make a difference – as went out last Wednesday. Chelsea had a plan to stifle it that worked, and Essien was especially effective on Gerrard. If Liverpool does play 4-2-3-1, and if Gerrard does start, that the line of three will have to use much better movement, with Kuyt, Gerrard, and whomever switching regularly.

Babel’s probably the biggest reach with this guess – outside of the formation – but both Benayoun and Riera played 90 minutes on Saturday, Riera’s been hit and miss of late, and Babel’s pace could be crucial in overturning the deficit. Plus, the faith to start him in a game like this could do his confidence a world of good.

And yes, I’m actually suggesting Liverpool go to Stamford Bridge and play three at the back. Both Arbeloa and Aurelio can get forward, but five players will add extra steel to Liverpool’s defense. And no, I don’t think this is too defensive a formation when the team needs three goals; it has the potential to switch to attack very quickly.

I don’t want to seem like I’m giving up hope, because that truly isn’t the case, despite the opening sentence of the last leg match review. But unless Gerrard is 100%, I really wouldn’t start him here; yes, the league is that much more important. And if Liverpool’s narrowed the gap in the second half, he’d be available off the bench.

Whatever line-up starts tomorrow has a shot at overhauling this deficit. Bolton scoring three in eight minutes adds some hope, but it’s not as if Liverpool hasn’t overcome worse situations – especially in cup competition.

6 comments:

steven. said...

3 at the back? so crazy, it just might work .. with the hole we've dug ourselves, there isn't anything left to lose .. GET IN!

Ed said...

I stopped short of doing a projected starting line-up for fear of blatant plagiarism. When I was thinking about Agger's performance from Saturday last night a 3-man back line seemed so right. It almost seems like Liverpool have been a 2-2 at the back since Rafa got the wild hair to attack, so adding Agger to that mix could be deadly. My only fear is that we can't afford the defensive vulnerability that it yielded against Portsmouth, but who's to say it would play out the same. More than anything Liverpool need to win the midfield battle, and an increase in numbers might do the trick.

Mike Georger said...

I honest to God keep forgetting Babel is on this team. I can't imagine him being here much longer.

If Arbeloa and Aurelio pull their heads out of their asses and stop leaving the centrebacks high and dry, they have a chance. Need to get one real early.

What confidence I have comes from scoring two there last year in a situation that was not nearly as dire at the start.

Anonymous said...

we need all the luck we can get. need torres on absolute fire and two up at least by half time.

i would rather start with gerrard, and when things don't work out, take him off. chelsea ain't blackburn and we are chasing 3. plus we have a week till arsenal.

personally i prefer benayoun to start instead of babel. either would be better than dossena. but i know having said that already in this blog, rafa will probably start doss and doss will probably score:)

we should include agger, i total agree. 3 at the back might be the way to go but with hindsight, should be more appropriate in the first leg.

let us hope in the memory of the 96, the team delivers cracker of a game, even if we do go out.

irfaanfr said...

COME ON REDS!!!BELIEVE!!HAVE FAITH!!MAKE US DREAM!!!WE ARE LIVERPOOL FC!!!!!!

Kenny said...

Liverpool can take chelsea down, though chelsea is a tough one..