26 September 2008

Liverpool at Everton 09.27.08

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
Torres Keane

What I’d like to see:
Carragher Skrtel Agger Dossena
Alonso Mascherano
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.


Anonymous said...

100% in favor of your proposed dream lineup. It's the only way things make sense with Keane at this point. I was hoping Stevie's recent comments about being to play "anywhere on the pitch, thanks to Rafa" was an early sign of him moving to the right - we'd be much better off.

However, this headline appeared at Goal.com today: "Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has identified Dirk Kuyt as a potential match winner ahead of tomorrow's Merseyside derby."

I don't know what kind of dirt Kuyt has on Rafa (naked pics?), but the love between them is annoying since Bel and Gerrard are much better alternatives. He wasn't great against Everton last year at all - he hit two PKs, yes, but his game was of low caliber and he should have been red carded due to a clumsy and evil-looking two footed tackle.

A challenging series of upcoming games in the league, let's hope no matter what lineup we field takes 3 here.


Abhiram said...

I don't know why we shouldn't play with the 4-4-2(4-4-1-1) or the 4-3-3. Rafa is trying out these formations so that he can find a good solution to our attacking problems. I too am a supporter or 4-2-3-1 formation but it has its own flaws. Agreed the goals have come in the formation (and it mainly due to the brilliance of Torres and Gerrard) but i don't see as much much variety in it as the 4-4-2 formation gives.

I don't like to compare teams but see last seasons Mancs and Arsenal. They, arguably, played the best football and beautiful football at that and scored a lot goals too. They mainly played with 4-4-2 with 2 box-to-box mid-fielders in Flamini and Fabregas for Arsenal and many(Carrick, Scholes, Anderson etc) for Mancs.

I, as a LFC fan would like to see us playing, The Beautiful Football being played by Arsenal now, with goals and trophies as proof of-course. If they can do it with one up front in the 4-2-3-1 formation is up for argument or debate but if they can, i will be the happiest. If they cannot, Rafa will have to try the 4-4-2 varied combination to reach that goal.

Anonymous said...

I would only say that the 4-4-2 just didn't work for us. Didn't watch much of Torres in Spain, but he is best being a loner it seems. At the Euros, he had trailing support and excellent feeds from his deeper lying comrades, especially Villa. And the same for most of last year with LFC.

Granted that the earlier parts of the season we were meshing or whatever you wish to call it, but our game was ugly and Keane and Torres certainly weren't clicking. Playing Keane in that hole as a secondary striker with the added benefit of Xabi roving forward - I think that's a pretty good idea, in theory. But no, Kuyt will stay at wing and dampen our pace and creativity. Even having him playing in the hole would be better than the wing.


Mike Georger said...

worried about masche.

also worried im going to get too drunk tonight and sleep through the game.

Anonymous said...

"also worried im going to get too drunk tonight and sleep through the game."

I don't even bother stopping the drinking or the early rising Mike. Just do the torrents.