Huytonian's Posts (29)

CHELSEA 3-03-20 FAC 3 (A)

After a sobering defeat at Watford I have seen calls for a first team eleven to be picked for this game.  I don't think that will happen and Klopp has hinted that the team will be of similar strength to that which played at Shrewsbury in the last round (not the replay).  I think Klopp is right because the FA Cup is our third priority.  Saturday reminded us that there is still a job to be done in the PL while next week we have a huge task to overturn the result in Madrid.  Playing the first team against Chelsea and risking injury to key players makes no sense.

I suspect the team will be something like this:

Adrian

Williams/Hoever Matip Lovren Milner

Lallana Chirivella Jones

Mane Minamino Origi

Williams is ahead of Hoever in the pecking order currently but he took a knock last week so if he is deemed unfit I would expect Hoever to start.  We are a bit short of forward choices with Shaqiri still injured, so I have included Mane as he had a break recently through injury and has not yet got back to top form.  If Klopp does not want to risk him, he could play Jones in attack and bring in another midfielder.  Keita needs game time but he is still injured so it would be Ox or Fabinho.

I would see Chelsea as favourites for this one given the team we are likely to put out, but after our performances against Everton and in the Shrewsbury replay, maybe we are destined to go far this season in the FA Cup.

 

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WATFORD 29-02-20 PL (A)

Another game against a relegation threatened team tomorrow evening.  Usually there are a few easy games at this time of the season with several teams having little to play for, but this season it seems those not fighting relegation are striving for a European place, especially if City's ban holds.  Watford gave us a hard game at Anfield but that was Nigel Pearson's first game in charge.  The "new manager bounce" has gone flat in their last few games.  That's not to say they won't give us a hard game, especially, if we play as we did for an hour against West Ham.  I'm sure Klopp will be looking for an improved performance over our last three.  I think the key will be whether our midfield can dominate without Henderson.  I would only make one change from West Ham - Oxlade-Chamberlain for Keita.  My team would be:

Alisson

Trent Gomez VVD Robertson

Ox Fabinho Wijnaldum

Salah Firmino Mane

That should be good enough to overcome Watford but we can't keep scraping single goal wins and we need to start being more ruthless around goal.

 

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WEST HAM UNITED 24-02-20 PL (H)

It seems an age since our last PL home game against Southampton.  Tonight its the Hammers, who are in a spot of bother at the wrong end of the table.  They have some decent players but maybe not the sort who you would want fighting a relegation battle.  They also have Moyes as their manager which doesn't seem a good fit for a Club that used to be known for its good football.  Its only a few weeks since we played them away in a game when they parked the bus and seemed intent only on damage limitation.  It will be the same again tonight.  I saw a bit of their recent game against City and they sat very deep making it hard for City, who nevertheless found ways through their defence.  They only played with one attacker that evening, Antonio, who has only scored one goal this season!  Liverpools next few games are well spaced out and I don't see any need to rotate too heavily, apart from the Cup game at Chelsea.  The only question for me is who replaces Henderson - Keita or Oxlade Chamberlain.  My team would be:

Alisson

Trent Gomez VVD Robertson

Keita Fabinho Wijnaldum

Salah Firmino Mane

My only reason for putting Keita in ahead of Ox is that he needs game time more than Ox and this seems an ideal game to give him some.  I can't see any result other than a Liverpool win.  The only question for me is whether it will be another narrow one, with West Ham hard to break down, or an easy one, with our attackers exposing the Hammers' frailties.  I'm hoping for a reaction from the Athletico defeat and a strong performance to set us up for the next few matches.

 

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ATHLETICO MADRID 18-02-20 CL RD OF 16 (A)

Back to European football this week and a difficult away game for the Reds at the scene of our recent European trimph.  Over recent seasons Athletico were the one team I was hoping we would avoid in the draw.  Playing aganst one of the glamour teams is always an exciting proposition even if you lose but Athletico have been the strongest of the non-glamour teams.  In particular they have had a really strong defence and enough in attack to cause anyone problems.  Besides that Simeone always has them fired up aginst the best teams and exploits their underdog status.  They will certainly be fired up against the Reds but they have had a huge turnover of players in the last year or so and their team is very different from the one that was so formidable only recently.  They still don't concede a lot of goals but their defence is not as watertight as before and they have struggled to score goals. On top of that they have had a lot of injuries to attacking players though they are now starting to return.

The main aim of any team going into the away leg of a European knockout tie is to come away with everything to be decided in the home leg.  A win would be great but a score draw is also useful or indeed any draw.  My team would be :

Alisson

Trent Gomez VVD Robertson

Henderson Fabinho Wijnaldum

Salah Firmino Mane

Wijnaldum did not have a good game against Norwich but i would include him for his experience.  I am anticipating a close game, possibly a draw, with us going through by beating them at Anfield.  With the PL almost won I am feeling greedy for a second trophy (sorry fourth) and either the FA Cup of the CL would round off the seson very nicely.

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SHREWSBURY TOWN 4-02-20 FAC 4 (REPLAY) (H)

This is the game nobody wanted unless you happen to be an U23 player with a chance to play in front of a big crowd at Anfield.  I thought there were first team players who could benefit from playing in this one but Klopp has decided to make a stand and maybe the U23 lads can produce a more cohesive performance than a mix and match team.  The U23 team that beat Arsenal on Saturday was lacking eleven regulars so it is a fair bet the missing lads will all start, which will give us a stronger team than faced Villa in the League Cup.  I suggest the team will be:

Kellaher

Williams Hoever VanDemBerg ?

Clarkson Chirivella Jones

Eliott Hardy Millar

The ? at left back is because first choice Larouci was injured in a mid-week game last week and is a doubt.  Lewis would be the natural cover but he is only just working back to fitness after a long-term injury.  So the other alternatives are Gallagher or Norris.

The above team is very similar to the one I saw taking apart Southampton U23s a couple of weeks ago (5-0) and is a very good one at U23 level.  Whether their natural ability can overcome Shrewsbury's greater physicality is the big question.  Personally I doubt it.  I think that Shrewsbury will be too strong for them especially from set pieces which we don't defend particularly well.  However, I look forward in the hope that I am wrong.  Whatever the outcome we can be sure that the young lads will give 100% and won't go down without a fight.

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SOUTHAMPTON 1-02-20 PL (H)

For a change this is a 3pm Saturday afternoon game, the last for a while, as our remaining February and March games are televised.  Saints are on a good run and have won the last 4 away, so we have to take this challenge seriously.  I would suggest the following team:

Alisson

Trent Gomez VVD Robertson

Keita Henderson Wijnaldum

Salah Firmino Minamino

Keita would bring fresh legs while Minamino would be fresher than Origi, though Jones would be another option.  Southampton have been emplying a high press with some success.  Danny Ings is particularly effective at this as he proved in the reverse fixture to Adrian's discomfort.  However, with Alisson, Trent and VVD all capable of launching accurate 60 yard passes from the back, we have the tools to turn this to our advantage.  I can envisage a more open game than West Ham but hopefully the result will be the same.

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WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 23-01-20 PL (A)

We seem to have had a few Thursday games recently.  At least it has given us a 4 day break after the United game.  This could be one of the most difficult of our remaining fixtures.  Wolves are a strong, well organised team with a system that they are comfortable with.  I've been impressed with how they have coped with the extra demands of the Europa League this season.  Having said that we are an incredibly difficult team to take points off.  The only selection issue for me, unless there are any last minute injuries, is whether to start Fabinho or Ox.  It may make sense to wait until Sunday to start Fabinho so I can see the same team being selected as for the United game:

Alisson

Trent  Gomez  VVD  Robertson

Ox  Henderson  Wijnaldum

Salah  Firmino  Mane

They are strong all over the pitch but the main danger men are Traore and Raul Jiminez.  They may decide to play an extra man in midfield in which case those two would play up front which might suit us as they would be up against Gomez and VVD rather than Traore being up against Robertson who could be caught out of position with no chance of catching him when tracking back.  It should be an interesting tactical battle.  With City dropping points agaist Palace at the week-end a draw would not be a disaster but three points would send a huge message to our nearest rivals.

 

 

 

 

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MANCHESTER UNITED 19-01-20 PL (H)

It's been a good week-end so far for Liverpool without the Reds actually kicking a ball.  City dropped two points at home to Palace and Rhian Brewster scored the first goal of his loan spell at Swansea.  Three points against United tomorrow would make it the perfect week-end.  I would keep the same team as started against Spurs namely:

Alisson

Trent  Gomez  VVD  Robertson

Ox  Henderson  Wijnaldum

Salah  Firmino  Mane

Unless there are any late injuries, I see the only decision being between Ox and Fabinho in midfield.  With Fabinho being out for so long I think it is a risk to start him but he should see some game time, hopefully coming on to protect a lead towards the end of the game.

United have been inconsistent this season but have somehow climbed to fifth place, which doesn't say much for the other teams competing for the CL places.  However, they have a decent record against the better teams, and managed to win at City, though I'm not sure how their luck held out in that one.  They are clearly better equipped to play on the break than they are in trying to break down stubborn defences.  Their most dangerous player by a mile has been Rashford.  He went off against Wolves on Wednesday and is a major doubt for this game.  Without him they would lose much of what cutting edge they have.  I think Liverpool will win this one whether Rashford plays or not but our job would be more straightforward if he is sidelined.

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SPURS 11-01-20 PL (A)

Games against Spurs have usually been close in recent seasons but we have had the better of them.  Their new manager bounce turned out to be more of a dead cat bounce but Mourinho will, as always, be desperate to put one over on Liverpool.  He'll have do do it without Harry Kane, though Spurs have managed to come through Kane's absences quite well in the past.  Only Shaqiri of Liverpool's injured players is likely to be available for this one, though Matip, Fabinho and Lovren could be in contention for the United game the following week end.

Klopp has said his team will be unpredictable which I somehow doubt.  Why play anything other than the strongest available team?  I think it will be:

Alisson

Trent Gomez VVD Robertson

Ox Henderson Wijnaldum

Salah Firmino Mane

At least in midfield and attack there should be good options from the bench, namely Shaqiri, Origi, Minamino, Lallana and Jones.

Both teams have had time to recover and plan for this game and I am expecting another tight one but I cannot see anything but a Liverpool win if we are in anything like the form of recent weeks.

 

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EVERTON 5-01-20 FAC(3) (H)

FA Cup Third Round day used to be one of the highlights of the football year.  A chance for the minnows to embarrass a big name.  Today it's not the same with the Premier League and the Champion's League the main competitions for the bigger clubs.  Thus I wouldn't be too bothered about the outcome of this game but for the fact that we are playing our "friends" from across Stanley Park.  Our hectic recent schedule will surely mean wholesale changes to the team both to give players a rest and to avoid further injuries.  The fact that we have 7 first teamers injured means that the team Klopp puts out is likely to be less experienced than is ideal but it does provide opportunities for more of our young players.  I suspect the team will be something like the following which I am putting in a 4-2-3-1 formation:

Adrian

Williams  Phillips  VanDijk  Milner

Vijnaldum  Lallana

Elliott  Minamino  Jones

Origi

VVD and Phillips could swap positions so Phillips has experienced players either side and VVD protects Williams but I suspect Phillips is more comfortable on the right.  The three behind Origi lack experience but they have the potential to be very creative.  There's not a lot of goals in that team though and we will need to rely on Origi to cause Everton his usual problems.

This is a game when the worst result would not be a defeat (as long as we put up a strong performance) but a draw.  I don't know how I would feel if there was 10 minutes left and we were a goal down.  The head would say let Everton hang on but the heart would probably override that and hope for an equaliser.  If Everton put out their strongest team I would say they were favourites but any team Klopp puts out can be expected to give 100% and give a thoroughly professional performance.  Let's hope it is enough, as the last thing I want is for my Evertonin mate to have bragging rights, however temporary those rights might be.

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LEICESTER CITY 26-12-19 PL (A)

When I heard we were to compete in the World Club Championship I was concerned that it might cost us the League with the extra fatigue that two matches in Qatar would bring about.  Of course I did not know at that stage that we would have a 10 point lead (11 over City) with a game in hand.  While we have some leeway this is no time to start dropping points, though a draw at Leicester would not be a bad resul, especially if City were also to drop points at Wolves (never an easy ground to play at).  Leicester are having an amzing season under Rogers but there have been signs recently that their form has slipped a bit.  With no European games that have mostly played just one game a week and have stayed free of injuries.  They are now into a spell playing twice a week and I would suggest we are more used to coping with that than they are.  Having said that they will definitely be giving it a go tomorrow, and we will need to be at our best.  The injury to Ox is a blow but we have enough cover in midfield even without him and Fabinho.  My team would be:

Alisson

Trent Gomez VVD Robertson

Milner Henderson Wijnaldum

Salah Firmino Mane

There is no point playing anything other than our strongest team.  I wondered about playing Keita instead of Milner but I think for this one Milner's experience will help.  Keita can always come on if we need to be more adventurous.  I would have played Gomez in this one even if Lovren or Matip had been fit as his extra pace will be useful up against Vardy.  I haven't opened my Chritmas presents yet but the biggest present in my opinion would be 3 points tomorrow evening.

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EVERTON 4-12-19 (H) PL

I don't expect too many changes for the derby compared to the team that played Brighton last Saturday.  It wasn't a vintage performance against the Seagulls but the team that Klopp started was about as strong as is available given injuries and match fitness complictions.  Alisson is suspended so Adrian comes in for the derby.  That is the only change I would suggest unless Salah is unable to start two matches in a week.  My team would be:

Adrian

Trent Lovren VanDijk Robertson

Ox Henderson Wijnaldum

Salah Firmino Mane

I watched the Leicester v Everton match on Sunday.  Everton went to a back 3 and played very well.  They were unlucky to lose to that late VAR goal that was initially ruled offside (though goal was the correct decision).  I don't see this as being anything other than yet another close game.  However we do have the advantage of an extra day to prepare.  Also losing in that manner at Leicester must surely have impacted on Everton's confidence,  With City winning at Burnley, nothing but a win tonight will do.  I think we will come through with the 3 points but I expect Everton to be a hard nut to crack.

Incidentally how poor is it of the PL to contract with a third provider to show this game and the boxing day fixtures.  The cost of following football on TV is becoming crazy.  I will be recording the delayed coverage on LFCTV.

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NAPOLI 27-11-19 CL (H)

Back to the Champions League on Wednesday evening, with Liverpool needing a win to see them top the group and maybe get an easier draw in the first knockout round.  Any other result and it will probably all come down to the final game at Salzberg and we know how tricky they can be.  I don't think we should be resting key players for this one.  Lets get the job done then we can rest players for Salzberg.  Napoli are in a difficult moment but we know how good they can be even if they will be short up front because of injuries.

My team would be:

Alisson

Gomez  Lovren VanDijk  Robertson

Henderson  Fabinho  Wijnaldum

Salah  Firmino  Mane

i'm only leaving Trent out because he has played a lot of games and has looked like he needs a rest in his past couple of games.

I would expect Liverpool to win despite Napoli's strength and if we can score early it could be an easier win than last season.  A clean sheet would also be nice.

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NAPOLI 27-11-19 CL (H)

Back to the Champions League on Wednesday evening, with Liverpool needing a win to see them top the group and maybe get an easier draw in the first knockout round.  Any other result and it will probably all come down to the final game at Salzberg and we know how tricky they can be.  I don't think we should be resting key players for this one.  Lets get the job done then we can rest players for Salzberg.  Napoli are in a difficult moment but we know how good they can be even if they will be short up front because of injuries.

My team would be:

Alisson

Gomez  Lovren VanDijk  Robertson

Henderson  Fabinho  Wijnaldum

Salah  Firmino  Mane

i'm only leaving Trent out because he has played a lot of games and has looked like he needs a rest in his past couple of games.

I would expect Liverpool to win despite Napoli's strength and if we can score early it could be an easier win than last season.  A clean sheet would also be nice.

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CHELSEA, 14-08-19, EUROPEAN SUPER CUP, ISTANBUL

Not sure how much most supporters care about this one but having unluckily lost to City on penalties in the Communiity Shield I feel it would be a moral booster to get a win here and claim another trophy.  With Chelsea losing 4-0 to United on Sunday Liverpool will be strong favourites.  However, I watched the first hour of that game and Chelsea played quite well and were unlucky not to go into half time ahead.  Having said that Zouma had a nightmare and if he plays tomorrow I'm sure we will be looking to exploit his area of the pitch.  Lampard has his team playing out from the back and they are suseptable to being closed down by any well organised press, so if we get that part of our game right it should bring chances.  As far as the team is concerned I would like to see Matip get a game even though I see Gomez as a starter for league games.  I would also like to see Keita start to add a bit of attacking dynamism to midfield.  Mane should replace Origi though no doubt Divock will get time as a sub.

I am not expecting a walk over but I do expect Liverpool to win.

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CHELSEA, 14-08-19, EUROPEAN SUPER CUP, ISTANBUL

Not sure how much most supporters care about this one but having unluckily lost to City on penalties in the Communiity Shield I feel it would be a moral booster to get a win here and claim another trophy.  With Chelsea losing 4-0 to United on Sunday Liverpool will be strong favourites.  However, I watched the first hour of that game and Chelsea played quite well and were unlucky not to go into half time ahead.  Having said that Zouma had a nightmare and if he plays tomorrow I'm sure we will be looking to exploit his area of the pitch.  Lampard has his team playing out from the back and they are suseptable to being closed down by any well organised press, so if we get that part of our game right it should bring chances.  As far as the team is concerned I would like to see Matip get a game even though I see Gomez as a starter for league games.  I would also like to see Keita start to add a bit of attacking dynamism to midfield.  Mane should replace Origi though no doubt Divock will get time as a sub.

I am not expecting a walk over but I do expect Liverpool to win.

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CHELSEA, 14-08-19, EUROPEAN SUPER CUP, ISTANBUL

Not sure how much most supporters care about this one but having unluckily lost to City on penalties in the Communiity Shield I feel it would be a moral booster to get a win here and claim another trophy.  With Chelsea losing 4-0 to United on Sunday Liverpool will be strong favourites.  However, I watched the first hour of that game and Chelsea played quite well and were unlucky not to go into half time ahead.  Having said that Zouma had a nightmare and if he plays tomorrow I'm sure we will be looking to exploit his area of the pitch.  Lampard has his team playing out from the back and they are suseptable to being closed down by any well organised press, so if we get that part of our game right it should bring chances.  As far as the team is concerned I would like to see Matip get a game even though I see Gomez as a starter for league games.  I would also like to see Keita start to add a bit of attacking dynamism to midfield.  Mane should replace Origi though no doubt Divock will get time as a sub.

I am not expecting a walk over but I do expect Liverpool to win.

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LIVERPOOL'S PRE-SEASON MATCHES

Judging by the lack of comments on the Tranmere game blog I thought I would post a general blog so Kopfans can comment on all the pre-season games which are coming thick and fast, starting with Bradford City tomorrow.  I don't know much about Bradford but surely they must give Liverpool a harder game than Tranmere did.  Although more players are back in training the new arrivals will not be considered for Bradford, though Lovren who has trained for a few days should get a game.  Otherwise the first and second half teams should be similar to Tranmere though Klpp may choose to swap the line-ups around a bit.  A similar performance to Tranmere would be welcome as would a good attendance since the match is raising money for sufferers of motor neurone disease, an awful condition that has sadly struck our former player and former Bradford skipper Stephen Darby.

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LIVERPOOL'S PRE-SEASON MATCHES

Judging by the lack of comments on the Tranmere game blog I thought I would post a general blog so Kopfans can comment on all the pre-season games which are coming thick and fast, starting with Bradford City tomorrow.  I don't know much about Bradford but surely they must give Liverpool a harder game than Tranmere did.  Although more players are back in training the new arrivals will not be considered for Bradford, though Lovren who has trained for a few days should get a game.  Otherwise the first and second half teams should be similar to Tranmere though Klpp may choose to swap the line-ups around a bit.  A similar performance to Tranmere would be welcome as would a good attendance since the match is raising money for sufferers of motor neurone disease, an awful condition that has sadly struck our former player and former Bradford skipper Stephen Darby.

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The new season is almost upon us and is no less welcome for the fact that football never actually went away over the summer.  Liverpool are yet to sign any senior players and this gives a chance for the youngsters to make a case for their involvement.  Personally, I'm a bit disappointed with the lack of signings so far and was expecting at least a left back and a versatile forward by now.  We can't afford to stand still while others strengthen.  The injuries to Keita, Shaqiri and Kellaher are also disappointing.

The first few pre-season games are more about fitness than team rhythm for the senior players but the youngsters will be keen to impress.  I am looking forward to seeing Brewster and Ven den berg in particular.  It will also be interesting to see if Kent or Wilson can impress sufficiently to play a part in the coming season.

I won't put a predicted team here as I expect all those who began training on Saturday plus possibly Origi to get time on the pitch at some stage.  Tranmere have done well to recover from relegation into the Conference with successive promotions to reach League 1 so they will provide useful opposition.  The result isn't too important but staying injury free would be relief.

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