20 April 2007

Liverpool v Wigan 04.21.07

10am, available live in the US on Setanta Xtra, delayed on Setanta at 4:30pm.

Thanks to this being on Setanta Xtra, with no live video on e-season ticket, I’m either hiking to a bar with slim hopes or waiting until the delayed showing. In any event, the match report will be late. Sorry.

Liverpool: 3rd place; 64 points out of 34 games
Wigan: 15th place; 35 points out of 34 games

Last 3 meetings:
4-0 Liverpool (a) 12.02.06
1-0 Liverpool (a) 02.11.06
3-0 Liverpool (h) 12.03.05

Last 3 games:
Liverpool: 2-0 Boro (h); 0-0 Man City (a); 1-0 PSV (h)
Wigan: 3-3 Spurs (h); 1-1 Villa (a); 1-3 Bolton (h)

Goalscorers (league; more than one goal):
Liverpool: Kuyt 10; Crouch 9; Bellamy, Gerrard 7; Alonso, Fowler, Garcia 3; Agger, Gonzalez 2
Wigan: Heskey 9; Camara 6; McCulloch 4; Baines 3; Folan, Landzaat, Scharner 2

Referee: Mike Riley

Rennie, then Poll, then Riley in the last 3 league games. Getting all the good ones!

Guess at a squad:
Finnan Carra Agger Riise
Pennant Alonso Mascherano Gonzalez
Kuyt Fowler

Not safe for Champions League qualification quite yet. However, there is the little matter of Chelsea on Wednesday, so a full-strength line-up seems unlikely.

Even though as easily predicted, Gerrard won the headlines on Saturday (it’s in his contract that if he scores, lfc.tv has to name him man of the match), but he’s still looked one of the players in greatest need of a rest. And even with 3rd place not yet in stone, with the semi-final looming large on the horizon, he should be able to sit out Wigan at home, even if left on the bench.

But please, no more Momo and Mascherano. Please. Sissoko and Alonso is one thing, but after seeing how those two combined (v Villa, City, Reading, and Boro), I think we’ve tested that pairing enough for the time being. If Sissoko improves his vision, control, and passing, it’s one thing, but despite Momo’s outstanding work ethic and maturation, those parts of his game haven’t come yet. Remember, he’s still only 22; I said “yet” for a reason.

Fowler’s included because I’m unsure if Bellamy’s still suffering from the knock picked up against PSV. If Craig’s healthy, he’s just as likely to feature, especially given his performance at Wigan in December, but with Kuyt used as a sub midweek and Crouch having started 5 of the last 6 games, seems that Peter should be the one on the bench before Wednesday. Two strikers featuring though, please, goals are always essential. No 4-5-1 or Gerrard as a deep-lying forward if at all possible.

It’s hard to get ginned up over a home match against Wigan with Chelsea coming up so soon, with the fact it’s the first game I’ve been unable to see live on TV since December not helping matters either. And having seen the tempo that some of the players have gone at over the last two league games, it’s clear that their focus is on Europe as well. But I’m certain Rafa will have drummed in the fact that 3 points here would probably secure Champions League qualification for next season, which after the atrocious start to the season, has been the imperative in the league since, say, October. And the team should more than know what they have to do.

Roll on.

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