2:45pm, live in the US on Comcast Sports Northeast and MSG. The game is on Fox Sports regional networks. I’ve got DirecTV, and the game is on channels 630 or 635. And it’s in HD! I wish I could be more help to those with cable. At the least, it’s delayed on FSC at 10pm.
Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 0-1 Sunderland (a); 0-2 Chelsea (a); 0-2 Fiorentina (a)
Lyon: 0-2 Sochaux (h); 2-0 Lens (a); 4-0 Debrecen (a)
Liverpool: 0-2 Fiorentina (a); 1-0 Debrecen (h)
Lyon: 4-0 Debrecen (a); 1-0 Fiorentina (h)
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (SPA)
Guess at a squad:
Johnson Carragher Agger Insua
Benayoun Gerrard Riera
Yes on Gerrard, No on Torres. At least one is better than none.
I think it’s safe to say we’ll see a return to the 4-2-3-1. At least I hope it is. The tried and true formation gives Liverpool the best chance to beat Lyon, especially with the team struggling for form. Go with what works.
With Gerrard healthy and Lucas/Masch hopefully recovered from the trip to South America, the midfield should be in better shape. I imagine Benayoun and Riera will man the flanks, mainly because Babel disappointed and I think Kuyt’s a better option as a lone striker than Ngog. But Ngog starting, Kuyt on the right, and Benayoun on the left seems like the other possibility, especially since we didn’t see Riera at all against Sunderland.
The other line-up questions come in defense. Agger or Skrtel? Aurelio or Insua? I think the Dane should get the nod for two reasons. One, Skrtel’s been shaky so far this season; the communication with Carra and the jaw injury are examples of that. Two, Agger’s quicker and stronger, which will be needed against Lyon’s front line, especially Lisandro Lopez. Simply, I think Agger’s a better partner for Carra. In the future, we obviously want to see how an Agger/Skrtel partnership works, but I reckon it’s too soon to leave out Carra the organizer. Aurelio versus Insua is more of a crapshoot, but I was massively disappointed with Aurelio (especially from set plays) on Saturday.
Lyon is a very good team, probably better than last year’s model, and that’s without Karim Benzema. First and foremost, Lisandro Lopez is a more-than-able replacement, and Liverpool fans should remember his goal for Porto two years ago. This BBC article, comparing him to Wayne Rooney, is interesting reading.
Lyon’s stacked on the frontline, with Gomis, Govou, and Pjanic capable foils for Lopez. I’d like to see Jean-Alain Boumsong in defense as a massive weakness, but he’s not the same player that amused at Newcastle. Also, he’s injured (Cris and Bodmer should probably start). Evidently French football papers over those weaknesses. I’m still thankful Houllier was never able to sign him.
Lyon lost their last match, home against Sochaux. But that was Lyon’s first loss of the season (in contrast to Liverpool’s five), and Sochaux was obviously up for it after the tragic injury to Charlie Davies.
As tempting as it is to look past this game to United on Sunday, Liverpool’s Champions League campaign can’t. Liverpool already sits third in the group behind Fiorentina and Lyon. The group is stronger than the one two years ago; I doubt Liverpool will be able to come back in the last three games like in ’07-08.
The match against United will be the biggest October league game in years. Liverpool’s entire campaign may well be contingent upon it. But with the state of the team and the state of the league, Liverpool need to progress in the Champions League; even at this stage of the season, it may well be Liverpool’s best chance at a trophy.
Besides, a win tomorrow would be just what the doctor ordered prior to a test with the defending champions.