15 May 2009

Liverpool at West Brom 05.17.09

8:30am, live in the US on Setanta

Last 4 head-to-head:
3-0 Liverpool (h) 11.08.08
2-0 Liverpool (a) 04.01.06
1-0 Liverpool (h) 12.31.05
5-0 Liverpool (a) 12.26.04

Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 3-0 West Ham (a); 3-0 Newcastle (h); 3-1 Hull (a)
West Brom: 3-1 Wigan (h); 0-1 Spurs (a); 3-0 Sunderland (h)

Goalscorers (league):
Liverpool: Gerrard 15; Torres 13; Kuyt 11; Benayoun 7; Alonso 4; Babel, Riera 3; Aurelio, Ngog 2; Agger, Arbeloa, Carragher, Dossena, Hyypia, Lucas 1
West Brom: Brunt 8; Bednar 6; Fortune 4; Miller, Morrison 3; Greening, Koren, Olsson 2; Beattle, Menseguez, Moore, Simpson 1

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Guess at a squad:
Arbeloa Carragher Agger Insua
Lucas Mascherano
Kuyt Gerrard Benayoun

Yes, yes. Manchester United probably "sealed” the title with the late win (surprise of surprises) at Wigan on Wednesday. Chances are they’ll take at least a point from Hull or Arsenal. And we’ll know by the time this match kicks off, with United hosting Arsenal at early Saturday morning.

But I doubt it’ll have much impact on the team selection. Maybe the bench, as it’d be nice to see some youngsters get a chance, but there’s still a race for second, at the least. Even if (when) the worst comes true, Liverpool need every point possible – the higher the total this season, the higher the confidence next season. Liverpool’s best haul under Benitez was 82 points in 2005-06.

Benitez says Alonso will be available, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll start. Whether it’s Alonso or Lucas is the only real question I have over the line-up (although it could be Benayoun or Riera on the left, as well as Agger or Skrtel in defense). Although, as has been seen when Xabi’s been missing in previous games, his passing could be the difference against a packed defense.

And make no mistake – West Brom will have a packed defense. Mowbray’s been acclaimed because Albion have tried to play aesthetically pleasing football more often than not, and criticized because that open style sees them on the foot of the table. But West Brom will simply hope for a point from Sunday. With Boro and the Baggies both on 31 points, and Hull and Newcastle three points ahead, any point will do. In theory you’d think (hope?) they’d play for the win, but it’s more likely they’ll go for damage limitation here and hope for a win against Blackburn the following week.

West Brom have played well of late, with wins over Wigan and Sunderland giving them a slim shot at avoiding the drop. They’ve scored six in their last two home games, which is something like a sixth of all their goals during the campaign. ‘On paper’ means nothing; this will not be an easy match. Struggling against relegation, there will be fight in the opposition. But there’s been a fair bit of fight in Liverpool as well.


Mike Georger said...

It's going to be a bloodbath against Scarlett Carson, that's all I can hope for at this point.

nate said...

Obviously, let's hope for a bloodbath, but against Dean Kiely.

I doubt Scotty will play. He may be back from injury, but Kiely's played well in Carson's absence. It would be unfair of Mowbray to put a 'probably fit' Carson back in the side ahead of Kiely.

Or this all might be me trying for reverse psychology. What with Liverpool's record against former keepers and all (this season, esp. v Friedel in March, not included).

Mike Georger said...

I had no idea Carson was injured. I've seen all of one WBA game this year, and I was deathly hungover so I have no idea who was playing. I just assumed he was playing and playing poorly. Future England number one!

irfaanfr said...

Come on Reds....lets finish the season on a high ;(

Mike Georger said...


Mike Georger said...

At this point I would honestly rather see an entire side of the kids playing. Then play the regular eleven but with Sami for the home finale.

nate said...

Yeah, definitely Sami next week, but no other big changes until second place is wrapped up please.