4pm, live in the US on Setanta
Grad school and the time difference are going to make me miss proceedings tomorrow. If the game was at 3pm, I’d probably be okay. But since the match is on Setanta, chances are I’ll watch the full game archived on Broadband, but a review probably won’t be up until sometime Thursday.
Last 4 head-to-head:
4-1 Liverpool (h) 12.22.07
0-0 (a) 09.15.07
1-2 Pompey (a) 04.28.07
0-0 (h) 11.29.06
Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 1-0 Chelsea (a); 1-1 Atletico (a); 3-2 Wigan (h)
Pompey: 1-1 Fulham (h); 0-3 Braga (a); 0-0 Villa (a)
Liverpool: Torres 5; Kuyt 3; Alonso, Babel, Carragher, Gerrard, Riera 1
Pompey: Defoe 6; Crouch 3; Johnson 1
Referee: Steve Tanner
Guess at a squad:
Arbeloa Carragher Hyypia Dossena
Benayoun Gerrard Lucas Riera
With the games coming fast and think, Liverpool will make some changes, but who’s going to be rotated is the big question. I’ve guessed a fair few alterations, but I’m still hesitant do so because Liverpool needs to keep up the momentum they’ve built. However, if players aren’t rested, they’re more susceptible to injury, and it’s better that it's now instead of April. Even with changes, I still suspect Liverpool will play 4-4-2 at Anfield in the league.
Rafa says Torres will miss the match, but even if he were fit, I’d leave him out. To be honest, since he’s had hamstring problems in the past, I hope he stays out until Atletico next Tuesday at the earliest.
It’s hard to decide who to drop (sorry, sorry, “rest”) from the midfield, but something’s got to give. Alonso supposedly picked up a knock on Saturday, and rarely seems to play three matches in a row, while I don’t know if Mascherano’s defensive capabilities will be as needed at Anfield. Gerrard is an ever-present, while this seems like a game for Lucas. Both Alonso and Mascherano have been outstanding lately, but both could do with a break as well.
Benitez doesn’t like rotating defenders, but Agger hasn’t played a lot of games before the past few. Plus, Hyypia seemingly has to feature either tomorrow or Saturday since he’s not eligible for the Champions League. I worry about a striker like Defoe because of his pace with Agger out of the picture, but both Carra and Sami are outstanding defenders and Hyypia’s height will come in handy against Crouch.
Seeing as it’s Crouch’s first trip back to Anfield, I’m wary of the effect he can have. Both he and Defoe have been scoring of late, and they’ve gotten pretty much all of Pompey’s goals. But it'll be interesting to see how Crouchy responds to Redknapp's exit. He’s a big reason why the gangly handful went back to Portsmouth.
This will be Tony Adams’ first game on the sidelines, and there’s an excellent chance Pompey will look to shine for the new gaffer. Maybe they won’t have that boost because Redknapp leaving was a surprise, but I’m always suspicious of a team under a new boss.
After Liverpool’s big win against United, the team drew Stoke at Anfield. Anything less than three points tomorrow would render the Chelsea victory similarly meaningless.
Last time Liverpool were top of the table, for that brief period last September after beating Derby 6-0, this was the team that knocked them off after a 0-0 draw. But even with four changes, which is what I’m guessing, Liverpool should still have enough to see off Portsmouth.