26 September 2006

Liverpool v Galatasaray 9.27.2006

2:45pm. Available in the US on Setenta Sports .

Liverpool previously played Galatasaray in the Champions League group stage in 2001-2002. The two sides drew 0-0 at Anfield, and 1-1 in Istanbul.

Champions League results:
Liverpool: 0-0 PSV (a); 1-1 Maccabi Haifa (a); 2-1 Maccabi Haifa (h)
Galatasaray: 0-0 Bordeaux (h); 1-1 Mlada Boleslav (a); 5-2 Mlada Boleslav (h)

Goals leaders (Europe):
Liverpool: Crouch, Bellamy, Gonzalez 1
Galatasaray: Arda 2; Ilic, Sukur, Sabri, Sas 1

European History:
Liverpool: European Cup/Champions League 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 2005; UEFA Cup 1973, 1976, 2001; UEFA Super Cup 1977, 2001, 2005
Galatasaray: UEFA Cup 2000; UEFA Super Cup 2000

Referee: Luis Medina, Spain

Key players for Galatasaray:

Arda Turan: An up and coming midfielder who scored twice in the qualifying rounds, and has been Galatasaray’s best player recently despite being only 19 and this being his first year with the first team.
Sasa Ilic: Creative midfield playmaker for the Serbian national team. Ilic scored 12 goals for Galatasaray last season.
Hakan Sukur: Sukur seems like he’s been around forever, consistently scoring goals at the top levels since the mid-90s. He was the key player in Turkey’s 3rd place finish in the 2002 World Cup. True story: I saw Sukur score a brace against Fulham while he played for Blackburn at Loftus Road in March 2003. He and Damien Duff absolutely tore Fulham apart that day.

It’s still unclear whether former Liverpool and Leeds defender Rigobert Song will play due to a hamstring injury.

My guess of a line-up:

Finnan Carragher Agger Riise
Pennant Alonso Sissoko Aurelio
Crouch Bellamy

It’s a complete crapshoot picking a Liverpool team with this squad as it is, but they could line up against Galatasaray so many different ways. The 4-4-2 has become the settled formation, and since Liverpool’s home as well, I don’t expect to see a five-man midfield, but it also wouldn’t surprise me given Rafa’s European tendencies. Moreover, I fear that Galatasaray’s going to come out looking to do some kicking at ankles, and I expect this game to be smash-mouth, so I’m not bothered leaving Gerrard on the bench. Much like PSV, he’ll be available for the second half if Liverpool needs to go searching for a goal, but otherwise rested for the Premier League.

You would also have to think that Kuyt gets a game off and Crouch starts here. Kuyt looked absolutely knackered by the end of the Spurs match and Crouchy hasn’t started since West Ham. Also, it seems Rafa likes to play Crouch against European competition, as they don’t often come up against a 6’7” striker with the sort of touch that Peter has. It could be Bellamy he lines up with, it could be Garcia playing off him deeper, but I have to believe that Crouch will start.

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