Rafa Benitez Has A Dilemma
Lando78 sent Vital Manchester City the following.
As intriguing a match as tomorrow will be this City fan will be looking at certain aspects of tomorrow's game with great interest.
Firstly, will Torres and Gerrard be out? It certainly looks like the Spanish Golden Boy will be as will be the talented Yossi Benayoun and ex-Blue Albert Riera, which means Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has a dilemma on his hands.
Does he go into a game with attack-minded City without a creative spark and field defensive beast Mascherano with the talent-less inept Lucas? Or does he throw into the frying pan new signing Aquilani for his first real Premier League test since his big money move from Seria A?
One things for sure is if Steven Gerrard is even seventy percent fit he'll start, as he'll give the crowd and the rest of the team a much needed confidence boost. Can his groin last the full ninety minutes of a Premier League battle against De Jong and Barry or Ireland? Maybe not.
If Gerrard can't, then I fancy City to at least get a draw out of this game. Which brings me onto the other major factor in the showdown - Gareth Barry.
If Barry plays well then City will almost certainly have the spring board to go on and take all three points. The problem is that he hasn't done so recently for various reasons.
Barry is one of the mainstays in City's assault on the Premier League so far, always first on the team sheet with Messrs Bellamy and Given, and rightly so.
He performs that central midfield role perfectly at times holding, screening, linking play, supporting attacks and most importantly keeping the teams shape together in times of pressure.
What worries me is his psychological toughness. His weakest performances have arguably been against Villa and Birmingham when on both occasions he was subjected to a barrage of abuse from the first minute until the last he was on the field.
Tomorrow against Liverpool he will again come up against a crowd who believe he should have been playing in Scouse red against City and not against them. It may not be as vociferous a barrage as in the Midlands, but it will be interesting to see how the man many Blues thought would be captain at the start of the season reacts to the cauldron that is Anfield.
Of course he is not the only player important to us getting a result tomorrow. Adebayor's big game attitude will be a huge plus if he plays, as he will surely be more up for this game than the likes of Burnley and Stoke ( good or not).
Our defence will have to be on song too and we must keep our shape better than we did against Burnley, defending as a team when we lose the ball and remaining focused until the final whistle is blown.
Without Gerrard Liverpool will have lost a match winner and someone who can go for ninety-seven minutes and still score a winner. Even so, they still have players with fight willing to carry the team such as Kuyt and Carragher who are born winners.
Their problem is that without him and Torres they might have to rely on us to throw the game away. Surely that puts the game in our favour.
THE KEY TO THE GAME
Scouse injury list:
D Agger: Back injury - 21st Nov 09 - slight doubt
Y Benayoun: Hamstring - 5th Dec 09
F Aurelio: Calf/shin - 21st Nov 09 - doubtful
A Riera: Hamstring - 5th Dec 09
M Kelly: Ankle/foot - 29th Nov 09
G Johnson: Calf muscle strain - 21st Nov 09 - doubtful
F Torres: Abdominal strain - 29th Nov 09
S Gerrard: Groin strain - 21st Nov 09 - doubtful
As long as Barry turns up a win is well within our reach. Bellamy to score the winner for City and silence the Anfield faithful.
Did you know Lando78 has a blog? To pay a visit, click here.