7:45am Eastern Time, live in the US on Setanta
Last four head-to-head:
1-0 Liverpool (h) 03.30.08
2-1 Liverpool (a) 10.20.07
0-0 (h) 02.03.07
0-3 Everton (a) 09.09.06
Last three matches:
Liverpool: 2-1 Crewe (h); 0-0 Stoke (h); 2-1 Marseille (a)
Everton: 0-1 Blackburn (a); 2-2 Hull (a); 2-2 Standard Liege (h)
Referee: Mike Riley
He’s no Mark Clattenburg, that’s for sure.
Guess at a squad:
Arbeloa Skrtel Carragher Dossena
Kuyt Gerrard Mascherano Riera
What I’d like to see:
Carragher Skrtel Agger Dossena
Gerrard Keane Riera
In the 25 months of this blog, I can only think of a couple of times where I posted what I want to see instead of my best guess at what I expect to. I can’t think of any where I’ve posted both. It’s not as if I’ve anywhere near the qualifications to second-guess Rafa, no matter how much Liverpool football I watch.
But because I’m in one of those moods, and it’s not as if the football’s been very good outside of the Manchester and Marseille matches, I can’t help myself this time. Maybe it’ll even prompt a debate. And I have reasons in fun list format!
1) Gerrard and Torres have played their best together in the 4-2-3-1, and the formation worked in the second half of last season.
2) Alonso and Mascherano were outstanding together in midfield against the Mancs.
3) I know it’s still early, but Torres and Keane are misfiring as a partnership. Liverpool’s played six games with that pairing. They’ve scored 4, and Torres has only gotten one of them.
4) I’m still in the pro-Kuyt category, but he’s not played well on the right recently. I do think he’ll be better in the 4-4-2 with a wide man like Riera on the opposite side, but if it’s the 4-2-3-1, it’s either him or Keane making way. With two articles on the front page of the official site today, chances are he’s playing though.
5) We know Gerrard can play on the right, even if it’s not his favorite. But I reckon he’d have more impact on the flanks than Keane, and besides, the role is different in the 4-2-3-1 than in the 4-4-2.
6) Having Gerrard, Masch, and Alonso on the field for a contentious away game can only help Liverpool win the battle in midfield. And if the past is any precedent, it’ll probably be cagey, and the game will be won in the center of the pitch.
7) Carra’s proven he’s capable at right back (especially when either Kuyt or Gerrard, with their respective work ethics, are on the right), and Agger needs to get back into the fold.
8) This isn’t a reason, but it is an admission that I’m beginning to worry about buying Keane. However, despite my attempts to curtail this, I’m admittedly prone to overreaction.
Of course, I hope I’m wrong (in either what I want to see or my evaluation of the 4-4-2), and I’ll be the first to admit when I am.
And since this attempts to be a preview, I’ll try and play the rest of it straight.
Despite Agger playing well against Crewe, we’ll probably see Carragher/Skrtel again. Both have done well in the own right, and Benitez seems reluctant to rotate at center back if he can avoid it. But I’d be very surprised if Agger doesn’t force a look-in sooner rather than later; as said in the reasons above, I wouldn’t mind if that meant Carragher moved over to right back.
Mascherano will definitely be needed in a game like this, and I imagine if it’s 4-4-2 and someone’s making way, it’ll be Alonso. Liverpool missed him in the meeting at Anfield last season (when he was suspended thanks to the Steve Bennett fiasco against the Mancs).
Riera seemingly has to play given how he looked like improving Liverpool’s left against the Mancs and the fact that he didn’t play in midweek.
In 9th, with seven points from five games, Everton’s not had the start they wanted. But Cahill’s returning to fitness, Arteta can still pull the strings, and Yakubu’s always a goal threat. Liverpool fans saw against Liege that new signing Felliani can be a threat, even if he was hauled off at halftime on Wednesday. And make no mistake – that Everton were booed in midweek means little tomorrow. Recent form is never an indicator of how Merseyside derbies will play out, for either side.
After last weekend’s disappointment, this is the perfect game to turn around any lost confidence, as Liverpool will assuredly be up for the match. Last year, Liverpool did the double over Everton (in contrast to the year before), and in hilarious fashion in the match at Goodison. Here’s hoping precedent is a predictor in this case. I may not be a Scouser, but this is still the team I want to see Liverpool beat more than any other.