10am, live in the US on FSC
Last 4 head-to-head:
0-0 (a) 12.05.09
4-0 Liverpool (h) 04.11.09
3-1 Liverpool (a) 12.06.08
3-1 Liverpool (h) 04.13.08
Last three matches:
Liverpool: 3-1 Unirea (a); 0-0 City (a); 1-0 Unirea (h)
Blackburn: 3-0 Bolton (h); 1-0 Hull (h); 0-3 Stoke (a)
Liverpool: Torres 12; Kuyt 9; Benayoun, Gerrard 5; Ngog 4; Babel, Johnson 2; Kyrgiakos, Skrtel 1
Blackburn: Dunn 5; Roberts 4; Nelsen, Pedersen 3; Doiuf, Givet, Kalinic, Samba 2; Chimbonda, Di Santo, Nzonzi 1
Referee: Alan Wiley
Guess at a squad:
Kelly Carragher Agger Insua
Benayoun Gerrard Babel
So, now that Liverpool’s finally scored three in a game and delivered a cohesive attack, do we see the same lineup?
I’d be a lot more comfortable with Kuyt starting up top if the above lineup didn’t look almost exactly like the one that finished 0-0 at Blackburn in December. The only changes between this guessed lineup and the previous meeting are Kelly instead of Johnson and Babel instead of Riera.
Despite how often I seem biased against the player, I was impressed with Babel’s contribution yesterday – especially the goal – and reckon he deserves another start. Liverpool looked far more dangerous with Benayoun and Babel on the flanks (who haven’t started together on the wings since the 0-1 loss at Sunderland).
That Benayoun’s only returned from injury means two games in four days may be too much to ask. If that’s the case, Kuyt will probably start on the right with Ngog up top. But Benayoun looked lively throughout, and was subbed off for Aurelio with 15 to play. I obviously still think it’s too soon for Torres to start, but with eight days until the following game (not counting the infuriating midweek international break, which Torres has annoyingly been selected for), there’s still a slight ray of hope.
Who knows anymore, but I’m tempted to think Aquilani didn’t get a look-in yesterday because of the atrocious conditions, both weather and the state of the pitch. That Liverpool’s at Anfield on Sunday makes his inclusion a bit more likely, but Lucas and Mascherano both played well against Unirea.
There are few possibilities in defense thanks to Skrtel’s broken metatarsal. Johnson’s just returned to light training and Kyrgiakos is suspended for one more league match. The only possible difference is the inclusion of Aurelio, who – like against Unirea – seems more likely off the bench or in midfield.
Blackburn’s captain Ryan Nelsen is still out with a knee injury, but both David Dunn and Franco Di Santo could be back after surviving a midweek reserve game. Key defender Chris Samba also comes back from a ban; Samba and Nelsen were outstanding in the last meeting.
Blackburn have hauled themselves up to 12th since the New Year, 11 points above the relegation zone. Since beating Fulham on January 17, Blackburn are 4-1-1 in the league, with the lone loss coming at Stoke at the beginning of the month, and have kept clean sheets in four of those six matches. Admittedly, the four wins all came at Ewood, and were over Fulham, Wigan, Hull, and Bolton, but results are results, and those results are better than Liverpool’s over the same stretch.