25 December 2006

Liverpool at Blackburn 12.26.06

10am. Available in the US live on Setanta.

Liverpool: 3rd place; 34 points out of 19 games
Blackburn: 17th place; 19 points out of 18 games

Last 4 meetings:
1-1 (h) 10.14.06
1-0 Liverpool (a) 04.16.06
1-0 Liverpool (h) 10.15.05
0-0 (h) 03.16.05

Last 3 games:
Liverpool: 2-0 Watford (h); 3-0 Charlton (a); 4-0 Fulham (h)
Blackburn: 2-6 Arsenal (a); 2-1 Reading (a); 1-0 AS Nancy (h)

Goalscorers (league):
Liverpool: Kuyt 6; Bellamy 5; Alonso, Gerrard 3; Crouch, Garcia, Gonzalez 2; Agger, Carragher, Fowler, Riise 1
Blackburn: McCarthy 6; Nonda 4; Bentley 3; Pedersen 2; Gallagher, Kerimoglu 1

Referee: Rob Styles

Guess at a squad:
Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise
Pennant, Gerrard, Alonso, Gonzalez
Crouch, Bellamy

No real reason to foresee any major changes. It’s becoming clear that there’s a first choice team, and it wasn’t simply rotation for rotation’s sake earlier in the season.

The only likely changes are Gonzalez for Garcia, Hyypia for Agger, and Crouch for Kuyt. But then again, I’ve been picking Crouch to start for a couple of games now and it hasn’t come true yet. Although, Crouch always seems more likely to start away from home.

Blackburn is always a physical game, and I imagine the lineup will reflect that. It’s why I’ve left both Aurelio and Garcia out. As much as Luis pops up with important goals in big games, he still gives the ball away too cheaply, and that will be even more of a liability tomorrow than it usually is. Along the same lines, while Aurelio is now fit and has been an excellent crosser of the ball when he’s been healthy, this doesn’t seem like the type of game where he should be making his first start in over two months. Of course, the last time Fabio started was home against Rovers, where he supplied the corner for Bellamy’s first league goal for Liverpool.

Blackburn’s been inconsistent, and the fact they’ve been underperforming for the majority of the season shows in the league position. However, they always give Liverpool a tough game, and Ewood Park is always a difficult place to go and get a result. Earlier in the season, Blackburn was the better side for the majority of the game at Anfield, and opened the scoring by capitalizing on the defensive lapses that had plagued Liverpool at the time. Recently, Liverpool’s done a far better job at establishing the tempo and style of the game and preventing those silly errors.

This won’t be the same Blackburn side that got massacred by Arsenal 6-2 over the weekend. Not only is Mark Hughes a protégé of Ferguson, so the Blackburn locker room will not have been a pleasant place to be, Blackburn is a different team home than away. And this is always a closely contested game; just look at the scorelines from the last few outings, not to mention the fact that someone always seems to pick up a dreadful injury (knocking furiously on wood). But Liverpool will know what they have to do to win the game, have delivered some excellent away performances recently, and will want to pick up all three points here after dropping two to Rovers at Anfield.


domo arigoto fool said...

It's time to rid ourselves of Crouchie, the novelty is over.

nate said...

I disagree, Peter's got some skills and a lot of striking is about confidence which he's lacking in, but it's becoming clearer there's a reason Rafa uses him mainly as a substitute and/or in Europe.

I was going to say mainly in away games and Europe, but he did himself no favors today.

Pity as well, he's one of those players who seems like a decent fella too.