On Wednesday Liverpool have a chance to put another dent in Manchester City’s silverware ambitions. Today they have just been beaten by a Manchester United team that didn’t seem to be on top form at times.
City missing Yaya Toure to the African Cup Of Nations which, if you remember the most recent battle at The Etihad, can only be considered a good omen for Liverpool. Gerrard has been slowly getting minutes under his belt to gain that fitness for him to eventually start. It seems that we have been missing a creative talent in midfield. Opposite Liverpool on Wednesday will be a Man City team that have those players with qualities in abundance.
While Liverpool may lack certain flair qualities they can match Man City and even outdo their work ethic. Liverpool have hungry players that want to prove they belong in a top team and with Euro 2012 around the corner now is the time for some of the players to step it up and get notice by the international managers.
The battle, as they always say, will be won or lost in midfield. I imagine Man City will line up with a 4-4-2 formation with fluid and slick passing to get the ball to the Liverpool penalty area. The question for Kenny Dalglish will be: Can the players press the opposition into making small errors and forfeiting possession enough for the team to take advantage?
With Suarez out and the height of the Man City defence it seems inevitable that Carroll will get another run up front but will he play as a lone striker. With the first leg at the Etihad it seems sensible for Kenny to pick a 4-5-1 formation to flood the midfield. The wide men will have to remember to get crosses in for Carroll to attack. There can be no finesse and skill when linking up with a striker of Carroll’s ability that seems to be attacking the ball with his head. If Gerrard starts he will be given some freedom to play a similar role to David Silva, roaming and being given license to get on the ball and dictate the way we play.
Hart will return for Manchester City in goal and I expect Pepe Reina to continue in goal for Liverpool. While Man City have swapped keepers for today’s FA Cup game Kenny felt he did not have that luxury. Maybe it was the ideal time to test Reina’s nerves and handling skills considering the howler he made against City last week.
Most of Man City’s starting eleven today will re-appear against Liverpool in midweek. Liverpool’s bench had Skrtel, Henderson, Downing, Adam and Carroll. At least four of these should start in midweek. If Kenny feels Gerrard is not ready to start then expect all five to start. Carroll and Downing have been criticised widely this season so the goals on Friday v Oldham should provide some much needed confidence.
With the busy winter period and Mancini proclaiming he is short of players it seems that he knows who he wants, and will play, and who he will freeze out and refuse to select. If Liverpool are to beat Man City at the Etihad without Suarez now would seem like the best timing in the calendar.
By Ash WIlliams
Follow me on Twitter @A_Will83
Legendary Chelsea defender predicts Liverpool’s Premier League fortunes this season
Former Chelsea skipper John Terry has provided his predictions for the Premier League top four this season and he believes Liverpool will be joined by Manchester City and Chelsea. He then added that Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur would be left to fight for the fourth position. (h/t the Daily Mail)
“My top three for this season will be decided between City, Liverpool and Chelsea,” Terry said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail.
“That leaves United and Spurs fighting for fourth.”
As things stand, both Liverpool and Chelsea are joint leaders alongside Watford – with four wins from their first four fixtures. Defending champions Manchester City are fourth after dropping two points in their 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Tottenham Hotspur are fifth, having lost one of their first four fixtures, while Arsenal and Manchester United currently find themselves in ninth and tenth respectively.
Liverpool have started in a stunning manner, winning four out of four games as we stepped into the international break with a 100% win record. The Reds have scored nine goals and conceded just one in four outings, which makes for pretty impressive reading.
A number of players have started well this season, while some are yet to impress. There seems to be an extra hunger to score goals and although the season has a long way to go, the early signs are promising.
Read more: Fan rant of the day: Leadership rides high at Liverpool after a long time and it’s not about Henderson
After the international break, the Reds travel to Wembley to face Tottenham Hotspur in what is expected to be a mouthwatering clash on Saturday. Let’s hope our boys perform to their best and keep the winning momentum going.
£13.5m Liverpool star explains how he can help the Reds win the Premier League
Xherdan Shaqiri believes his experience can prove vital in Liverpool’s pursuit of the Premier League title.
Shaqiri, 26, joined Liverpool from Stoke City for a £13.5m, after the Potters were relegated to the Championship at the end of last season. The 26-year-old spent two-and-a-half years at Bayern Munich and was part of the squad that won two consecutive league and cup doubles.
The nippy forward also won three Swiss league titles with Basel and Shaqiri now wants to add to that trophy haul with the Reds.
“The aim is for the club to win something – that has to be the goal of our team,” Shaqiri told Liverpoolfc.com.
“We have to take every game and try to win it, then close out from your mind the last game you won and think: ‘OK, we go forward now and look to the next game.’ It is like this that you win titles and I hope we are going to do that this year.
“First of all, we want to try to play very good football. But we also know it is not always the case that good football wins, so we need to know how to win games – that’s important – and to be competitive with other teams.
“As a new player I want to show my football. Most of the players know me already from the Premier League and from Bayern and I have a good amount of experience.
“I won many titles with Bayern and I want to try to give this experience to this Liverpool team which is still young and try to help them win something.”
Jurgen Klopp brought in Shaqiri to provide competition to our devastating attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, who scored 91 goals between them last season. We have won all four of their Premier League games this term but Shaqiri has been limited to just two cameo appearances so far.
Read more: “I‘m confident Liverpool will be battling with them” – Former Red claims team will make it tough for Manchester City
However, the diminutive attacker made a case for his selection as Switzerland crushed Iceland 6-0 in the UEFA Nations League. Despite the Swiss ace’s fine show in national colours, it is tough to see him displace his fellow forwards in Klopp’s first-choice XI.
Not Mane or Salah – Jurgen Klopp speaks out about £10m Liverpool star’s future
Robertson, 24, endured a slow start to his Anfield career following his £10m move from Hull City last summer. However, he gradually picked up the tempo and has now made the left-back position his own.
Now integral to both club and country, Klopp has praised the defender for his hunger, desire and leadership abilities. Robertson’s first match as captain was one to forget as Scotland suffered their worst home defeat since 1973, losing 4-0 to Belgium on Friday. But that did not stop our gaffer from heaping praises.
“Andy is a fantastic fella. He is a very smart and nice person. He can be a leader in the future, 100 per cent,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com.
“He made big steps in the last one-and-a-half years since we worked together. That’s really cool. He has made big steps in the last four or five years since he started his career. So it’s a nice story.
“He is still young but he is a leader already and he will be even better in that in the future.”
Robertson has enjoyed a remarkable rise over the last few years. After all, he was playing lower league Scottish football for Queen’s Park in 2013 after being rejected by Celtic early on in his career.
The Scotsman is an attacking full-back, whose speed down the left flank is simply thrilling to watch. From getting rejected by Celtic to playing Champions League football for Liverpool, Robertson indeed has come a long way.
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