29 January 2008

Liverpool at West Ham 01.30.08

2:45pm EST, live in the US on Setanta Xtra. As the game’s only live on Setanta Xtra, chances are I'll have the review up after the delayed Setanta showing that starts at 7:45pm.

Last 4 head-to-head:
2-1 Liverpool (a) 01.30.07
2-1 Liverpool (h) 08.26.06
3-3 aet Liverpool (FA Cup Final) 05.13.06
2-1 Liverpool (a) 04.26.06

Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 5-2 Havant (h); 2-2 Villa (h): 5-0 Luton (h)
West Ham: 1-1 City (a); 0-1 City (a); 2-1 Fulham (h)

Goalscorers (league):
Liverpool: Torres 11; Gerrard 7; Babel, Benayoun, Kuyt, Voronin 3; Alonso 2; Crouch, Hyypia, Sissoko 1
West Ham: Ashton 5; Bowyer 4; Cole, Etherington 3; Bellamy, Ferdinand, Solano 2; McCartney, Noble, Parker, Upson 1

Referee: Alan Wiley

Guess at a squad:
Finnan Carragher Hyypia Aurelio
Benayoun Gerrard Alonso Kewell
Torres Kuyt

Like usual when there’s two games in less than a week, I think we’ll see a bit of rotation from the team that went out against Havant on Saturday. Players like Carragher, Gerrard, Torres, Reina and Alonso will surely return to the line-up, while I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kuyt and Kewell come back into the side as well.

Mascherano is suspended, having picked up five yellow cards in the league, while Agger, Arbeloa, and Voronin will miss the game through injury.

Surely Benayoun has to start again after notching a hat-trick? It’ll be his first game against the Hammers since leaving the club in July. I imagine he’ll slot in for Pennant on the right, but with Kewell underperforming (although not as badly as some others in the squad, and he is still working his way back to fitness following a lengthy injury), perhaps Yossi will stay out on the left (where he started on Saturday). But regardless of who plays on the wings, I imagine we’ll see them switch flanks, as against Havant and as happened earlier in the season before Pennant’s injury.

I realize many have been slamming Kuyt of late, including yours truly, but its not as if Liverpool’s overflowing with options up front. Crouch did not look good on Saturday, despite the goal (although he wasn’t paired with Torres), while Voronin’s injured and I can’t remember Babel starting two games in a week.

There’s an option of playing Benayoun centrally, as happened in the second half of the Havant match, but I don’t think we’ve seen Liverpool deploy a five-man midfield away from home this season. Kuyt’s been getting into decent positions, and (unsurprisingly) still shows 100% in his work rate (unlike a certain striker on Saturday). Like Crouch in his first season at Liverpool, once he breaks his luck in front of goal, more will come. And like Crouch in his first season, it’s important for the fans to stay behind the player through this goal drought.

Everyone’s sick of the repeated mantra that Liverpool needs to play better. There’s been enough talking off the pitch; the players need to start doing it on the field. By my count Liverpool’s had five disappointing league performances in a row, and it goes without saying that’s not good enough.

Benitez is partly right though; it is a matter of confidence. And a good performance away at West Ham, where Liverpool has a decent record over the past few meetings, is as good a place as any to start.


Mike Georger said...

i just realized ive got central court all day tomorrow and wont be able to sit in the office and follow the game, thankyou legal system for scheduling shit during games :(

would be GREAT to get a win in a tough game after all the crap going on the last few weeks. a win tomorrow, lock up masche, maaaybe bring in aimar, look forward to the weekend.

Mike Georger said...

Havant & Waterlooville boss Shaun Gale has revealed how Rafa Benitez urged him to win promotion to the Conference this season after running Liverpool so close on Saturday.

He explained: "We both had a lot of press to do after the game and after I'd got changed, Rafa invited me into his office and we had a good chat for 10 minutes or so.

"He's a very nice guy and was really humble about everything. He said: 'At 2-1 you gave us a real scare. We knew what a decent and well-organised team you would be because we had you watched.'

"And then he said: 'Now you've got to get promoted - you have a great little team there.'

"He couldn't have been nicer and he was an absolute pleasure to speak to. I've got a lot of respect for him.

"Straight after the game, he actually knocked on our dressing room door, came in and said 'Well done, boys. You played very well' to all of the players.

"It was a nice touch and he didn't have to do that."

stuff like that makes me stupidly happy and i dont know why

Mike Georger said...


Steel said...

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. (Sighs.)