There’s been a lot of talk in the press about this game, for the obvious reason that if we manage to beat Pool at Anfield, then it might well mean Brendan Rodgers will get the bullet on Monday.
And if you look at our record at Anfield over the last few years, it’s quite impressive. Without checking the facts, I can only remember one defeat in the last four or five times we’ve played them there. There was also the memorable win over them in the FA cup semi.
So we have a very good record of getting a result, quite often when it wasn’t expected.
Liverpool have twice the points we do (8) from the first six games and sit 13th in the league. Of course that’s not on a par with the Liverpool fans lofty ambitions and while I almost felt a slight dig at them coming on then, the reality is that for a club like Liverpool, it simply isn’t good enough. I don’t know where you rate them, but to my mind they ought to be top six, with more of a claim than we have.
Especially when you consider the money they’ve spent.
The very good news on our part is that Christian Benteke won’t be involved.
Can you imagine him against our defence, if he’s on fire?
Like I said, good news.
Roberto Firmino has a cracked bone in his back, Dejan Lovren has done a ligament and Jordan Henderson has had an operation on his foot. That’s a fair loss this early in the season, I reckon.
On the plus side for them, Daniel Sturridge is back in after being rested for the narrow defeat of Carlisle midweek.
Did Liverpool really have 45 shots without scoring in that game?
If so, that sounds like a team desperately down on it’s luck.
As for us, the good news is Gana’s back in training after a bit of “Paul Daniels” type treatment in France and could be fit.
Gabby’s a doubt, but as I’ve previously suggested, I think he’ll get a start if he’s anywhere near ok.
Traore and Okore are back in training, but this game might be too soon.
And Gardner starts training on Monday.
So it could be worse.
So, what to think?
Well, liverpool have had a poor start and the manager is under severe pressure, isn’t he?
And we have that very good record at Anfield of late.
I find this one difficult to call for a few reasons.
First off, liverpool’s defence can be as dodgy as ours can’t it?
Which means if the likes of Grealish and Gil/Ayew get at them, we have plenty that can open them up.
Likewise, our defence, where Sturridge is always dangerous and they have plenty who can hurt us.
If that 45 shots is true, I’d suggest we need them to stay out of luck.
But the biggest thing is going to be how Sherwood approaches the game.
I’m guessing he’s going to try to maximise our pace and trickery, which is why I think he’ll be hoping for Gabby to at least start.
I’d expect Ayew to come straight in, although if Traore does happen to be fit, he’d get the right-wing slot first.
A straight back four, with Clark back on the bench.
And Sanchez and Westwood as the centre mids.
I doubt there’s much to be debated there and the usual applies, in the Gestede/Bacuna/Hutton merits or otherwise.
It’s definitely good that the team sheet doesn’t write itself these days and we do have realistic options.
So ultimately, the truth is I don’t know.
It could be a single goal win either way.
Then again, if either side gets their shooting boots on, it could be a shoeing.
So I’ll plump for 1-1.
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