2:45pm, live in the US on espn2
Group stage so far:
Liverpool: 1-1 Atletico (a); 3-1 PSV (h); 2-1 Marseille (a)
Atletico: 1-1 Liverpool (h); 2-1 Marseille (h); 3-0 PSV (a)
Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 1-2 Tottenham (a); 1-0 Pompey (h); 1-0 Chelsea (a)
Atletico: 2-0 Mallorca (h); 1-0 Osasuna (a); 4-4 Villareal (a);
Liverpool: Gerrard 3; Keane, Kuyt 2
Atletico: Aguero 4; Forlan, Luis Garcia, Raul Garcia, Maniche, Maxi Rodriguez, Simao 1
Referee: Martin Hansson (SWE)
Guess at a squad:
Arbeloa Carragher Agger Aurelio
Kuyt Gerrard Riera
Once again, I’m guessing the same line-up that went out against Chelsea, which is the team that lost at Tottenham on Saturday except for Aurelio in place of Dossena.
RAWK exploded yesterday with rumors that Torres had a setback recovering from his hamstring injury. But both the official site and the Echo report he’s close to returning. With Benitez saying he “has a 70 percent chance of featuring in the game,” I imagine we’ll see Torres on the bench, to be used if needed, but that’s what I thought going into the Spurs game.
I’m actually more wary of this match than the fixture in Madrid. Atletico, with players like Aguero, Simao, Maxi Rodriguez and Pongolle, are built for quick attacks, and have the speed and nous to take Liverpool apart on the break. They’ll be under less pressure away from home, and will be boosted by recovering for a result two weeks ago. Unlike last time, Aguero is almost certain to start, which will have a huge impact. The little Argentinean scored both goals in Atletico’s last league match. In addition, there’s always the question as to how Liverpool will react after a loss.
With a win here, Liverpool would have 10 points with two matches left in the group. We’re all aware how much more important the league is this season, and 10 points would probably seal qualification for the knockout rounds, allowing Liverpool to focus on the Premiership for the next couple of months. It’s imperative that Liverpool put out a strong side and play well to put Saturday’s performance behind them.