25 January 2010

Liverpool at Wolves 01.26.10

2:45pm, live in the US on Setanta.

Last 4 head-to-head:
2-0 Wolves (h) 12.26.09
1-0 Liverpool (h) 03.20.04
1-1 (a) 01.21.04
0-1 Wolves (h) 01.14.84

Last three matches:
Liverpool: 2-0 Spurs (h); 1-1 Stoke (a); 1-2 Reading aet (h)
Wolves: 2-2 Palace (h); 0-2 Wigan (h); 1-0 Tranmere (a)

Goalscorers (league):
Liverpool: Torres 12; Kuyt 7; Benayoun, Gerrard 5; Ngog 4; Babel, Johnson 2; Kyrgiakos, Skrtel 1
Wolves: Doyle 5; Craddock 4; Milijas 2; Ebanks-Blake, Edwards, Keogh, Maierhofer, Stearman 1

Referee: Peter Walton

Guess at a squad:
Carragher Skrtel Kyrgiakos Aurelio
Mascherano Lucas
Rodriguez Aquilani Riera

If it ain’t (that) broke, don’t fix it. I’d be fine with the same line-up that beat Spurs. But against Wolves, even away from Anfield, I’d rather see how long Rodriguez can make it, and if he can add a different dimension to the attack.

Ngog coming for Aquilani worked a treat against Tottenham, leading to two or three good chances and the crucial second goal, but maybe Liverpool will deploy a more attacking line-up against Wolves. 4-4-2 with Kuyt and Ngog up top is a possibility, with some combination of Aquilani, Lucas, and Mascherano in midfield, but I’d rather Liverpool stick with the usual formation, especially after two decent performances in the last two matches (obviously not counting the final minutes against Stoke).

Gerrard may be back in contention, but I’ll be furious if he starts given his injury troubles this season. It hasn't even been the two weeks he was supposed to be out for. Put him on the bench, to be used if needed, and then back in the line-up for Bolton. Doesn’t seem worth the risk.

There’s still little news on Agger or Aurelio. Neither made the bench last time out, but only Agger is listed as injured by the BBC. The Skrtel/Kyrgiakos pairing has impressed in the last two matches, with the defense looking less susceptible to stupid mistakes. Admittedly I’d still like to see Aurelio give Insua a game off, but I don’t know if that’s possible.

Once again, Mick McCarthy’s fielded an under-strength side prior to facing Liverpool, with the B-team drawing Palace in the FA Cup. But Wolves twice equalized to force a replay, which will give the team more confidence before tomorrow’s match. And Wolves made Liverpool work for the 2-0 win on Boxing Day, only assured after Stephen Ward was rightfully dismissed for two yellow cards. And Torres, Gerrard, Benayoun, and Johnson started in that match. Ebanks-Blake, Doyle, and Milijas all posed Liverpool questions, and all three are available.

Like against Spurs, and like in nearly every game since October, Liverpool has to come together and work for all three points. It’s the only way to rectify the team’s situation, which appears to be improving little by little.


Anonymous said...

We must continue winning ;)

Mike Georger said...

This could be an unpopular opinion, but just to throw it out there. Assuming Gerrard is back fit in a week, how would people feel about playing him up top while Torres is hurt? If Aquilani is holding down Gerrard's role, there is no need to push him back. Rafa has repeatedly said he intends to push him up top as he gets older, I think it might not be a bad time to try.

I don't know, I just don't see it as smart to take Aquilani out of a position he is looking good in. Even Stevie out wide right again would be fine.

Abhiram said...

You really have a point there Mike. Two infact. One - don't move Aquilani from his best position and two - don't put too much pressure on Gerrard just now.

Mike Georger said...