25 September 2012

Liverpool at West Brom 09.26.12

3pm ET, not on live in the US. It's on in other countries, so check Twitter or your preferred bootlegger for stream links tomorrow.

Last four head-to-head:
0-3 West Brom (a) 08.18.12
0-1 West Brom (h) 04.22.12
2-0 Liverpool (a) 10.29.11
1-2 West Brom (a) 04.02.11

Last three matches:
Liverpool: 1-2 United (h); 5-3 Young Boys (a); 1-1 Sunderland (a)
West Brom: 1-0 Reading (h); 0-3 Fulham (a); 2-0 Everton (h)

Goalscorers (all):
Liverpool: Suarez 3; Gerrard, Shelvey 2; Borini, Coates, Johnson, Skrtel, Wisdom 1
West Brom: Long 3; Lukaku 2; Brunt, El Ghanassy, Gera, McAuley, Morrison, Odemwingie 1

Referee: Michael Oliver

Guess at a line-up:
Wisdom Coates Carragher Enrique
Henderson Şahin
Downing Morgan Assaidi

Chances are tomorrow's XI will look an awful lot like the one which faced BSC Young Boys last week. The modus operandi is the same for both competitions: extra experience for youngsters and out-of-favor second string players, and to protect the incredibly shallow first-team XI. Which is now even shallower after injuries to Borini, Kelly, and Agger and a three-match suspension for Jonjo Shelvey.

And as with last week's match in Switzerland, there are a couple of senior players who need the match fitness: Enrique and Şahin foremost, but possibly Downing as well. I'm slightly annoyed that Enrique's form and fitness almost demands his inclusion, rather than getting Robinson a much-needed start, but here were are. Carragher's inclusion will probably provoke some howls as well, but it's still slightly too soon for Sama, and Liverpool have to use at least one veteran in an otherwise young back line. Wilson has a better chance of being paired with Coates or even Carragher if Rodgers decides to hold Coates out until the weekend, but the "second string" CB partnership still seems the most likely.

Pacheco as a lone striker didn't work last week, and there's no Borini to pull Liverpool's fat from the fire this time. Which should mean that Rodgers will pick from Yesil or Morgan up front. It might well be the young German, included on the bench against Young Boys while Morgan wasn't. Maybe seeing Rodgers compliment Morgan early and often on Being: Liverpool prejudices me. That Sterling played only 66 minutes on Sunday makes him slightly more likely to play tomorrow; it'll seemingly be him, Downing, or Pacheco on the right, with Assaidi on the other flank. Maybe including Downing with the youngsters will be the kick in the shorts he desperately needs, if being left out entirely against Manchester United wasn't enough of a kick. And if Pacheco doesn't start on the right, it'll be him or Suso as the attacking midfielder with Shelvey suspended.

I doubt you'll need reminding, but it hasn't been that long since Liverpool and West Brom last spoke. In the meantime, West Brom have continued the form which saw them put three past Liverpool on opening day. Five matches in and they're currently 4th in the league with three wins, one draw, and one loss.

The Baggies played a fairly strong line-up in the last round of this competition, beating Yeovil 4-2 away from home. The lineup at Huish Park was Myhill; Jara, Dawson, Jones, Tamas; Brunt, Thorne; El Ghanassay, Gera, Rosenberg; Long. Only Gera and Long also started the match against Liverpool, but the majority of the XI has Premiership experience. Liverpool's will almost certainly have less in theirs. Clarke has been quoted saying "this is a competition we will take seriously", and I doubt anything he's seen in the last month has made him change his mind. 4-2-3-1 should remain Clarke's favored formation no matter the personnel used tomorrow.

So, maybe some revenge, but revenge with an almost totally different XI in a totally different competition. Regardless, remaining in this competition, allowing players like Suso, Morgan, Yesil, Wisdom et al to receive more experience has to take priority over how pleasing it would be to deliver a modicum of payback.


Ryan said...

I know it is just words, but I loved Rodgers' comment to the effect: the league is a PRIORITY, and the cups are an OPPORTUNITY. Perfectly sums it up for me. We will treat every competitive match from the perspective of trying to play the best football we can. The lineups will afford every squad member the ability to stake his role in the squad.

Nate, I think you have the lineup pretty spot on. I hope Pacheco gets a chance to show what he can do back at his more natural position. I could see Downing get a run at Left Back, just to give him some reps at that position in case we need him, but it is a quandry. We need to get Enrique, Robinson and Downing some reps at the position.

Is Flanagan injured or simply out of favor? Just curious, could we see a back line of Robinson, Carra, Wisdom, Flanagan? Or maybe even try out a 3 center back formation with two wingers?

In any event, wish this match were on tv here in the states, I love watching Rodgers' tactical alignments. Lets see what he comes up with tomorrow.

jonnySingapore said...

this will be much tougher than Young Boys and I wonder if this will be the end of our involvement in this competition.

The midfield should be quite strong which will be a great help but I can't help think Steve Clarke will simply out muscle us with more experienced players and sound tactics running at our high defensive line that Rodgers doesn't seem to think is a problem.