07 March 2008

Liverpool v Newcastle 03.08.08

10am EST, live in the US on Setanta

Last 4 head-to-head:
3-0 Liverpool (a) 11.24.07
2-1 Newcastle (a) 02.10.07
2-0 Liverpool (h) 09.20.06
3-1 Liverpool (a) 03.19.06

Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 4-0 West Ham (h); 3-1 Bolton (a); 3-2 Boro (h)
Newcastle: 0-1 Blackburn (h); 1-5 United (h); 1-4 Villa (a)

Goalscorers (league):
Liverpool: Torres 18; Gerrard 9; Babel 4; Benayoun, Kuyt, Voronin 3; Alonso, Crouch 2; Aurelio, Hyypia, Sissoko 1
Newcastle: Martins 6; Viduka 5; Owen 4; N’Zogbia 3; Butt, Milner 2; Barton, Beye, Cacapa, Emre, Feye, Taylor 1

Referee: Peter Walton

Guess at a squad:
Arbeloa Skrtel Hyypia Riise
Alonso Lucas
Pennant Gerrard Babel

With Liverpool playing as well as they have, with 12 goals in the last 4 games, consistency is just as important as keeping players fit for the trip to Italy on Tuesday. There will definitely be changes, but I don’t expect many.

Knock on wood, but Liverpool can take off Torres and/or Gerrard after getting the goals. And if it’s still 0-0 into the second half, it’s that much more impetus. If there were any changes to the front six, I’d imagine it’d be Mascherano, and possibly Kuyt or Torres. Again, I’m afraid of jinxing it, but Newcastle’s defense has been abysmal at times, and Liverpool’s been scoring with this line-up.

With Mascherano suffering a dead leg late against West Ham, he’s the most likely to be rested. And he will be needed against Inter trying to hold a two-goal lead; you can’t overemphasize his importance in Tuesday’s match. And with Lucas getting sustained time in the first-team, Liverpool has a ready-made replacement.

It’s purely a hunch, but I’d like to see Pennant get a start in what's been Kuyt’s role. That Kuyt’s started every game since Sunderland is part of it, but this is as good a chance as any to see Pennant in this formation, and it’s even better it’s before the Inter match. Benayoun could play as well, and Pennant’s gotten far more time as a substitute lately, but the option should be explored.

Torres looked fatigued by the end of the last match, calmly celebrating his 3rd goal, but, as Benitez said, he’s been absolutely on fire lately. Out of context, this looks like a game where Crouch would start, but it seems impossible to leave Torres out with the scoring streak he’s on.

After getting 45 and 60 minutes for the reserves, I’m hoping Agger will be on the bench, but it’s surely too soon for a start. With Hyypia rested mid-week, he’ll probably come back into the side, with either Skrtel or Carragher making way. Skrtel’s adapted well, and Carragher’s started more games than any other player this season (and, like others, could probably do with the rest before Inter). But regardless of who plays, the defense will have to be wary of Michael Owen.

This will be Keegan’s return to Anfield, still winless in this stint at Newcastle. In addition, the terms of Barton’s bail prevent him from traveling to Merseyside, while Viduka, Emre, and Carr are injured. It’s been a season to forget for Newcastle, which is probably the only club that’s had a worse ride in the media than Liverpool this season.

They may have had an awful season so far, but how many times has Liverpool expected to win games and disappointed? No matter how poorly Newcastle’s been playing, if they see names like Gerrard and Torres left off the team sheet, they will be invigorated. It seems like every league game’s a cup final recently, and with Liverpool’s standing in the table, that’s how every game should be treated.


Mike Georger said...

im really liking the formation now. and i think someone like van der vaart or nasri would fit it superbly, just saying.

thoughts on the now alleged DIC takeover of 49%? details are slim but if it means injection of more money but they dont have control of the board room im okay with that.

nate said...

Personally, I'd be surprised if DIC settled for a minority stake, but both parties (yes, even Hicks) are far smarter in matters of business than I am.

As a week ago, and a month ago, and before that, I just want this saga to end. I want the club's future secure and the off-field stuff to go away, and to not hear about Liverpool's owners, whoever they are, unless they're signing some checks.

Mike Georger said...

"Amanda Staveley, DIC’s chief negotiator, said. “We will be able to pay the price for the financing of the club and construction of a new stadium.”"

THATS good at least. i mean they do have quite the hot bit of money. obviously they want the club 100 percent long term. but who knows maybe given time and without financial stuff to worry about hicks could pull his head out of his ass. i do feel safer about rafa with hicks then with a new consortium though for some reason.

Django said...

I am so tired of hearing about the ownership. Like Nate, I could care less about who the owners are as long as the best interests of the club are being met. I don't get up at 5:45 in the morning to watch board room negotiations or press conferences, I watch the players and club that I love. It saddens me to see that 3/4 of the articles in most Liverpool-related sites are related to business. The only business I'm interested in is securing fourth place in league and advancing in the CL. Come on you Reds, let's get another 3 tomorrow, head to Italy on a run of fine form.


Mike Georger said...

could NOT care less
pet peeve sorry, but it means the opposite of what youre trying to say

i agree its a horrible distraction and the media looooove talking about anything but good form, i just want it done at this point and its looking like one way or another next week there will be something done

Mike Georger said...

awwww poor 'sir' alex. theres always the double!
incredible ending

Django said...

I could care less about the lesson in proper grammar, spare me.

django said...

Great luck on the first, great dummy and finish on the second...fortunate to go into half up 2-0, but up 2-0 nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

The BBC called Torres a "goal machine" in the match commentary.

Sounds about right.