15 September 2006

Liverpool at Chelsea 9.17.2006

Oh boy, another game against Chelsea. What’s this, the 12th game in the three seasons since Benitez and Mourinho took over? ‘Familiarity breeds contempt,’ and all that…

8:30am. Available in the US on Setenta Sports.

Liverpool: 10th place; 4 points out of 3 games
Chelsea: 4th place; 9 points out of 4 games

Last 4 meetings:
2-1 Liverpool (Community Shield) August 13 2006
2-1 Liverpool (FA Cup Semifinal) April 22 2006
0-2 Chelsea (a) February 2 2006
0-0 (a; Champions League Group Stage) December 6 2005

Last 3 games:
Liverpool: 0-0 PSV Eindhoven (a); 0-3 Everton (a); 2-1 West Ham (h)
Chelsea: 2-0 Werder Bremen (h); 2-1 Charlton (h); 2-0 Blackburn (a)

Goals Leaders (league):
Liverpool: Agger 1; Crouch 1; Fowler 1
Chelsea: Drogba 3; Lampard 2; Shevchenko, Carvalho, Terry 1

Referee: Mike Riley
mike f'n riley
Let’s try and have a better game than the last Liverpool/Chelsea fixture you refereed, shall we Mr. Riley?

The squad I’d like to see:

Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Aurelio
Pennant, Gerrard, Sissoko, Alonso, Garcia

Wouldn’t be surprised to see Crouch up top instead of Kuyt, but I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from Dirk in his 3 appearances so far and the more games he plays, especially games like this, the quicker he'll adapt to the league. He needs to get a goal and we’ll be off to the races.

I expect to see a five-man midfield, and a squad that looks to retain possession and boss the center of the park. I’m anticipating that Chelsea will play a line-up similar to that versus Werder Bremen, with little width and Ballack, Lampard, Makalele and Essien all in the middle of the park, but I’m more afraid of a team with Cole, Wright-Phillips, or Robben (who I believe is out injured) that has width, tricks, and pace. Robben and Cole especially have given Liverpool fits over the past 2-3 seasons.

It’s a pity Riise will be out for this game, he’s played very well against Chelsea pretty much every time he’s been in the squad against them. Don’t know whether Liverpool will go with Aurelio or Warnock. Aurelio offers more offensively, and looked fine against Chelsea when he came on in the Community Shield, but he’s looked shaky in defense at times. Warnock is more familiar with these sorts of tough English games, and he looked very good against PSV. Still, I think Aurelio will be the pick.

This will be one of the toughest games of the season, and I’d be happy with a draw at Stamford Bridge. But a win would do wonders for morale after the derby and go a long way towards setting the right tone for the rest of the year.

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