Saturday, September 17, 2011

Matchday Preview: Spurs vs. LFC

Finally, it's matchday! And "Super Sunday" no less. It has been said by some in the press that today's match may be a "must-win" for Liverpool, but I would hesitate to say any fourth match of the season would be so; however, considering Tottenham will be one of the teams we will do battle with for a top-4 spot, I would more tend to call this a "must-not-lose" game, because conceding 3 points to Spurs would certainly make things much harder in terms of catching them and surpassing them for the aforementioned top-4 spot. With all that said, let's take a look at the ins-and-outs of today's match.

My starting XI (4-4-1-1):

Skrtel    Carra    Agger    Enrique

Kuyt     Lucas     Adam    Downing


Subs: Henderson, Bellamy, Gerrard, Flanagan, Coates

For the defense, I have heard speculaton that Sebastian Coates maybe should get the start. Frankly, I believe this to be total rubbish. He still needs training time and a cup game to warm up to the speed and competition of English football, and would be overwhelmed at least at first if he were to start against Spurs. That said, it will be interesting to see what Dalglish will do should LFC go up by 2 or 3 goals late; maybe we will see a short cameo from him at that point. Now, with a duo of strikers to deal with in Tottenham's probable 4-4-2 scheme (with Defoe and Adebayor up front), we will need experience in back to deal with them; hence, I believe Carra and Agger should start at the CB positions. As for the right- and left-backs, Enrique will undoubtedly start at LB, and according to KK's mid-week press conference, Martin Skrtel will make the start at RB (in the press conference, Kenny praised Skrtel of his ability to play "out of position [at RB]" and suggested he may keep him there until Kelly is fit). Do not be surprised, however, if Flanagan makes an appearance later on in the second half.

Now to midfield. As we all probably have, I have been eagerly awaiting the return of Steven Gerrard; but, mid-week it has been suggested that he will see very limited action (if at all) to make sure he is totally fit for play. Therefore, I don't think he will make the start today, and that Lucas will take his RCM spot until at least the 60-minute-mark. Along with Lucas will be Downing on the left side, Adam on at LCM, and Kuyt on the right.

With a weakened defense now without Michael Dawson, it would be the best course of action to start Suarez and Carroll up front (Suarez behind Carroll), in an approach that would be similar to that of the Arsenal game: wear down the defense with the physicality of Carroll and then take advantage when their lack of depth has been exploited. Following those lines of thinking, look for a possible Bellamy-for-Carroll sub later on in the match (in the same way Suarez was subbed in for Carroll in the Arsenal game) to add some pace and pressure to really expose the tired and worn-down defense.

This game is said to be a matchup of two equally-matched teams, and so I don't believe there will be any scoring in the first half. In the second, however, there will be goals scored, and I see a late Bellamy or Suarez goal (or possibly Downing's first of the season?) being the difference, and Liverpool winning 2-1. On a side note, I also hope Chelsea and scum draw 0-0, with play having to be stopped at the 70th minute because both sides had all their players sent off, and all the fans going home bored and frustrated.

On that note, I'll be looking forward to the match and offering my post-match thoughts! Go Reds!

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