30 January 2009

Liverpool v Chelsea 02.01.09

11am, live in the US on FSC

Last 4 head-to-head:
1-0 Liverpool (a) 10.26.08
2-3 Chelsea (a; CL) 04.30.08
1-1 (h; CL) 04.22.08
0-0 (a) 02.10.08

Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 1-1 Wigan (a); 1-1 Everton (h); 1-1 Everton (h)
Chelsea: 2-0 Boro (h); 3-1 Ipswich (h); 2-1 Stoke (h)

Goalscorers (league):
Liverpool: Gerrard 9; Keane, Kuyt, Torres 5; Alonso 3; Babel, Benayoun, Riera 2; Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia 1
Chelsea: Anelka 14; Lampard 9; Kalou 4; Belletti, Deco 3; Boswinga, J Cole, Malouda 2; Alex, Carvalho, Drogba 1

Referee: Mike Riley

Guess at a squad:
Arbeloa Carragher Skrtel Aurelio
Alonso Mascherano
Kuyt Gerrard Riera

Any takers on whether this match will end 1-1?

Maybe the chess games that got Benitez in trouble against smaller teams recently will bear fruit against a big club, as has happened in the past. They work differently against teams who actually want to win the game.

Even though I’m very tempted to guess a squad different than usual – like Gerrard on the right in the 4-4-2 – this has to be a game for the 'tried and true' 4-2-3-1. I’m also tempted to guess Benayoun ahead of Kuyt, as he was one of Liverpool’s few dangerous attackers on Wednesday, but, again, this is a game that suits Kuyt down to the ground. It's one of those where I actually feel pretty safe in guessing the line-up. Which means I’m probably wrong again.

I’d be surprised if Chelsea didn’t play a similar formation – something along the lines of 4-5-1 with Anelka as the spearhead and Kalou, Malouda, Deco, and Lampard in support, with Obi Mikel holding. Joe Cole and Essien are long-term casualties, while Carvalho will miss out with a hamstring injury.

In an ideal world, this game comes at a perfect time. Liverpool needs to step it up a gear, make a statement, and save the season – and you’d think they’d be raring to do so at home against another of the top clubs. And, knock on wood, Chelsea's been gash against the “big four” this season, picking up only one point out of a possible 12. But since “Rafa’s rant,” it’s become impossible to predict what this team will do, unless you’re just guessing they’ll draw.

Hopefully, Sunday will mark a turning point that we’ll look back on fondly come May. Lord knows we fans need it.


Mike said...

Gah! It has to be Sunday at 11, just as I'm preparing to watch a crucial 8 hours of pre-game for the super bowl. Choices...choices....

Ibracadabra said...

Mike - not a choice. You have to watch Yossi. His twinkle toes are in good form.. it would be a shame to see him left out of the lineup.

iskoppa said...

Doh! Only a yank would come out with that one, only kidding ;), I'm sure!
It's almost that time again on Monday for me, so with hope in my heart I'm out to watch the game and that LFC gives me a bloody good birthday pressie!
Mike "Bloody" Riley thou!!!!!!!!!! Its all going to end in tears before bed time, me thinks!

nate said...

oh mike, you and your subtle humor.

Bilal said...

Can anyone explain why the super bowl is named the super bowl? seriously.. I don't get it...

At times like this I wish little Luis was still lurking around, just to annoy chelsea fans... I always get unbearably tense before a united match, but I hope/think Rafa has the measure of Chelsea, just pray that he's tactically aware on the day and the players are geared up for a battle.

nate said...

supposedly, lamar hunt (one of the founders of the afc, the owner of the chiefs, and one of the godfathers of american soccer) lobbied for it to be named the super bowl after he saw his kids playing with a 'super ball,' one of those bouncy hard rubber things one would pelt at other children when their parents weren't looking.

Mike Georger said...

Maybe it's just the copious booze talking, but I am feeling at least four goals scored in this game.

Both teams have something to prove, and fuck United.

Bobby said...

Fuck United, that's something we can all get behind!

steven. said...

games like this are the perfect occasion for Luis Garcia .. memories ..