24 November 2006

Liverpool v Manchester City 11.25.06

10am. Available in the US on Setanta Sports.

Liverpool: 10th place; 18 points out of 13 games
Manchester City: 12th place; 16 points out of 13 games

Last 4 meetings:
1-0 Liverpool (h) 02.26.06
1-0 Liverpool (a) 11.26.05
1-0 Man City (a) 04.09.05
2-1 Liverpool (h) 08.21.04

Last 3 games:
Liverpool: 2-0 PSV (h); 0-0 Boro (a); 0-3 Arsenal (a)
Manchester City: 3-1 Fulham (h); 0-0 Newcastle (h); 0-1 Charlton (a)

Goalscorers (league):
Liverpool: Kuyt 5; Crouch 2; Agger, Alonso, Bellamy, Fowler, Garcia, Gonzalez, Riise 1
Manchester City: Barton 3; Corradi, Samaras 2; Dunne, Richards 1

Referee: Rob Styles

The squad I’d like to see:
Carragher, Hyypia, Agger
Finnan, Gerrard, Zenden, Garcia, Riise
Kuyt, Crouch

Evidently, Stevie Warnock is going to miss out due to a groin problem, so there goes my master plan of shifting him to LB with Riise at LM. I still have no clue what is going on with Fabio Aurelio. He hasn’t been listed in the squad for a few games now, but I’ve seen nothing as to an injury update other than to say he’s out.

So, I’m taking the liberty here, and naming the first 3-5-2 formation of the season. I have no idea if this will actually happen. Liverpool’s used it before; I clearly remember the hurrahs following its successful deployment against Newcastle last season. But the injuries to Sissoko, Alonso, Gonzalez, and Pennant leave little other option. There’s always the alternative of putting Bellamy on the right wing or going with a 4-3-3 formation, but I think these possibilities less likely, especially with Benitez’s interview earlier in the week where he claimed "Craig’s no wide boy."

Finnan and Riise are well suited to the wingback role as well. Both like to get forward, can cover a lot of ground, and are excellent crossers. Carra and Agger are quick enough to compensate for any gaps left by the wingbacks pushing forward, but I also don’t know how much City will offer in attack, as they haven’t yet won away this season (sound familiar?).

The game marks Didi Hamann’s return to Anfield as well. The Kaiser left during the off-season, first to Bolton for a few minutes before realizing he’d have to play for Sam Allardyce, and then on to Manchester City. He’s underwhelmed at City, as he’s been injured off and on, but also isn’t the player he was 5 years, 2 years or even a year ago. Didi was never blessed with pace, but in a struggling City side, he’s been even more exposed. He hasn’t made the subs bench since last month, but he’s making the trip tomorrow, and he’ll definitely receive the welcome he deserves.

No comments :