10am, live in the US on Setanta
Last 4 head-to-head:
3-0 Liverpool (h) 12.26.08
2-0 Liverpool (a) 11.15.08
3-1 Liverpool (a) 03.02.08
4-0 Liverpool (h) 12.02.07
Last two matches:
Liverpool: 1-3 Villa (h); 4-0 Stoke (h); 1-2 Spurs (a)
Bolton: 1-0 Tranmere (a); 0-1 Hull (a); 0-1 Sunderland (h)
Referee: Alan Wiley
Guess at a squad:
Johnson Carragher Skrtel Insua
Kuyt Gerrard Benayoun
Liverpool’s been abhorrent in two of the last three games, and I’m still picking the same line-up.
I just don’t see the alternatives. Move Gerrard back into midfield and put Benayoun in the hole? Gerrard’s far better as a support striker, and we saw on Sunday how Gerrard charging around midfield didn’t help the attack and ended up conceding a penalty. Maybe bring in Riera for Benayoun, but Albert’s been strangely missing (he hasn’t even featured off the bench), while Yossi’s known for breaking down packed defenses. Liverpool could have Riera against Villa, though.
And I think Lucas has to play. I know, he’s an easy scapegoat, but there are few options in midfield, and Lucas needs the confidence boost of not being dropped after the Villa match. No matter what state of mind he's in, he's still a better option than either Spearing or Plessis.
Bolton’s still scoreless in two league games, losing 0-1 to Hull and Sunderland, before winning away at Tranmere in the Carling Cup on Tuesday. But Villa hadn’t tallied a goal before putting three past Liverpool last week. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned this.
I still half-expect Elmander to break out, having enjoyed the striker when he was at Toulouse, while Kevin Davies has the potential to cause problems. Meanwhile, it’s always fun to face former Reds, and I’m sure El-Hadji Diouf will have a quiet and introverted game, as usual (*spit*).
Just as the strength of Davies worries, set pieces really make me anxious, and after conceding all five goals from three free kicks, a corner, and a penalty, let’s hope it’s something Liverpool’s worked on this week. Maybe Kyrgiakos (who played a half for the reserves yesterday) will start because of his physical presence, but I expect Carra and Skrtel if they’re fit enough. Dossena for Insua is another option, but Benitez probably won’t drop the little Argentinean.
Just win. Please.