Liverpool To Stick Or Twist?
1-0 up going into the home second leg of a League Cup semi-final is very often more difficult to approach than 0-0, especially with strikers who are firing blanks...
Liverpool may well be unbeaten at home this season but they have scored only 21 goals at Anfield in 12 games across all competitions and 5 of those came at home to Oldham Athletic.
If they concede early tonight to a Manchester City side who have plundered 36 away goals in 16 games across all competitions, then there is a strong likelihood that they will be in for a difficult evening, particularly as after a time of containment, City are threatening to again cut loose.
So how will Kenny Dalglish set his side up with the pressure mounting to make Liverpool's first Wembley appearance since defeat to the rags in 1996?
Will he set out to park the bus again as he did in the first leg? Following Steven Gerrard's early penalty, Liverpool mustered 3 more shots on Joe Hart's goal and conceded 65% of the possession.
For the 1-1 league draw at Anfield last November, it was a different story after Joleon Lescott's own goal equaliser served to galvanise The Reds into a more attack minded approach.
Yet the stakes are much higher tonight. With their cup nemesis the rags to follow at Anfield on Saturday in the FA variant and following the calamitous defeat at Bolton, there are sure to be plenty of nerves around the old ground tonight.
City's quicksilver winger Adam Johnson senses that:
'It is a tricky one for them. Do they try to attack us or try to defend against our quality players for 90 minutes?
'...no matter who we play, we will create chances at some point. We beat them 3-0 at home, so we can score against them.
'Nobody is expecting us to go through so the pressure is off for once and we can go there with freedom, play our football and have a go. It won't be easy but we are quietly confident.
'I don't want to be happy just because I have an FA Cup medal. Even if we win the Premier League, I will strive for more. That's why you see the top players walk away with so many medals at the end of their careers.
'With the players we have, we want to do it again and again. That is the mentality we are developing.'
Follow City's League Cup Revenge Mission At Anfield Tonight On The VMC Forum Match Day Thread
all times East Manchester
Tonight 19:45 Liverpool, Anfield, LCSF2
Tu 31 Jan 20:00 Everton, Goodison Park, PL
Sa 04 Feb 17:30 Fulham, The Etihad, PL
Su 12 Feb 16:00 Aston Villa, Villa Park, PL
Th 16 Feb 20:05 Porto, Estádio do Dragão, ELR32
We 22 Feb 20:05 Porto, The Etihad, ELR32
Sa 25 Feb 17:30 Blackburn, The Etihad, PL