30 October 2006

Liverpool v Bordeaux 10.31.2006

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

Liverpool won the previous match versus Bordeaux 1-0 in Bordeaux. Bordeaux currently sits 8th in the French Ligue 1, behind Lyon. Marseilles, AS Nancy, Lille, Lens, Toulouse and Sochaux.

Champions League Group Stage results:
Liverpool: 1-0 Bordeaux (a); 3-2 Galatasaray (h); 0-0 PSV (a)
Bordeaux: 0-1 Liverpool (h); 0-1 PSV (h); 0-0 Galatasaray (a)

Goals leaders (Europe):
Liverpool: Crouch 4, Bellamy, Garcia, Gonzalez 1
Bordeaux: Bordeaux qualified directly for the group stage, and has not yet scored in this round.

European History:
Liverpool: European Cup/Champions League 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 2005; UEFA Cup 1973, 1976, 2001; UEFA Super Cup 1977, 2001, 2005
Bordeaux: UEFA Intertoto Cup 1995

Referee: Markus Merk (GER)

Key players for Bordeaux:
Johan Micoud: Johan Micoud is the biggest name on Bordeaux, and in the game in France, he had Bordeaux’s best chance to score, narrowly putting his header wide. Capable of playing on either flank, as an attacking midfielder, or as a deep-lying second striker, Liverpool will have to keep a careful watch over the former French international.
Julien Faubert: Faubert came on as a sub in the second half against Liverpool, and proved to be hard to handle, as he was able to put in crosses that could have been trouble if Bordeaux had more to offer in attack. After the way he played in the final 30 minutes, I can’t see him not starting tomorrow.
Wendel: The young Brazilian was the supplier of the free kick that Micoud almost scored against Liverpool. Not only was he dangerous from free kicks, as all Brazilians seem to be, but he was very quick up and down the left flank (he’s capable of playing either LM or LB). Signed from Santos over the summer.

It’s still doubtful that former Liverpool player Vladi Smicer will take part.

My guess of a lineup:

Finnan Carragher Agger Riise
Pennant Alonso Sissoko Garcia
Crouch Kuyt

Who gets a game off? I don’t mean to sound cavalier, even though it comes off that way, but Liverpool is probably one win away from qualifying for the group stages. With important league games against Reading and Arsenal, along with a cup-tie against Birmingham coming up in the next two weeks, I imagine certain players will be rested. So who’s going to sit?

I doubt the players who still have injury questions, such as Craig Bellamy or Fabio Aurelio, will even be considered. And one would imagine that one out of the midfield trio of Gerrard, Alonso, and Sissoko will be rested. Xabi, Stevie and Momo have all started 15 games so far this season, so it’s not likely that one will be rested over the other due to number of matches. Although Gerrard had one of his better games in a while versus Villa over the weekend, my feeling is he’ll be the one to sit, as Rafa has shown in the past he’s unafraid to play solely Alonso and Sissoko in Europe.

I want to see a little rotation in the defense as possible, though. Last season, while squad rotation was as much of a talking point as it is now, the defense was consistently Finnan-Carra-Hyypia-Riise, and it worked. I have Agger in over Hyypia solely because Sami has played more often than I thought he would recently, and Rafa has shown more of a willingness to bed Agger in at his expense, even though Hyypia's been playing very well of late.

In the last match, despite making hard work of it, Liverpool showed they are far ahead of Bordeaux in ability. As Liverpool is at Anfield, the game should come to them more easily than it did in France. It’s always trouble to look past games, and I’m sure Rafa is making certain that the team is not, but this should be 3 points, and nearly certain qualification into the Champions League knock-out stage.


Steven Gerrards Double said...

I've heard that Momo is a minor doubt along with Stevie G! I'd like to see a really strong attacking side, hopefully the same one against villa with maybe Agger coming in at the back. Liverpool should really get the qualification in the bag before they start messing around to much, this in itself then gives the manager options for resting.

nate said...

Every time I write this, it sounds like I'm slatting Bordeaux and looking past this game, which i'm really trying not to, but I think that key players getting a game off before Reading and Arsenal (and Brum) is more important than putting out an unchanged, or the absolute strongest, side v Bordeaux.

It's harsh, and I'll probably pay for saying it (jinx jinx jinx), but Liverpool should be able to beat Bordeaux at home with a lineup similar to the one that beat Reading in the league cup.

nate said...

Hahaha. Just got the news now.

One game shy of 100 with changed sides, Rafa names the exact same team as the one that beat Villa on Saturday. And on the same day that Noel White resigned.

Well, the press is going to have to go back and rewrite their headlines.

Steven Gerrards Double said...

I got my wish with an unchanged side, I thought it was important to get the qualifying done and out of the way, changes no doubt for the Reading game and a good rest for at least the last champions league game in the group