Liverpool vs Manchester United – Premier League Preview

Liverpool take on the old enemy, Manchester United, at Anfield in a crunch game in the Premier League.

This is always one of the most important games of the season, but it takes on extra importance in the context of Liverpool’s hunt for the title, and Mourinho’s efforts to stay in a job.

United’s never an easy game though, and even more than usual, they will be looking to frustrate us.

Liverpool Predicted Lineup and Team News

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Liverpool’s injury nightmare continues, at at the moment, it doesn’t feel like we can cope with too much more.

On top of Gomez’s leg break, now Matip is also out for around six weeks with a broken collarbone. I know from personal experience how painful that injury is, so kudos to Matip for playing through it. Trent Alexander-Arnold also has a foot injury, but it’s not thought to be too bad.

Milner has a slight muscle problem, but surely even a half-fit Milner has to play ahead of Clyne at right-back? The rest of the team more or less picks itself aside from the midfield which is always subject to rotation.

Manchester United Predicted Lineup and Team News

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Manchester United have many injury concerns of their own, but many of theirs are thought to be only knocks.

Diogo Dalot, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Scott McTominay, Anthony Martial, and Alexis Sanchez are all doubts, but I’d expect most of them to be fit and ready for the game.

Most of Mourinho’s decisions will come up top. He surely can’t persevere with Romelu Lukaku any longer as he’s becoming a hindrance. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have a far greater chance of troubling Liverpool.

Pre-Game Analysis

Game plans often go out the window in such emotionally charged games as this one, but there will be some telling indicators on how the game should pan out.

If Mourinho stubbornly leaves out Paul Pogba and Martial or doesn’t give Rashford the freedom to run down the left, then Liverpool will almost certainly win as there is very little that Lukaku can threaten us with that VVD can’t handle.

Liverpool have recently been getting better in attack as well, while United’s defence is uncharacteristically poor for a Mourinho side.

Prediction

For these reasons, I’m far more confident than usual that Liverpool will win the game and go back to the top of the table.

United will try all of their usual tricks of slowing the game down and pumping it long, but this time, it won’t work. Liverpool have got more quality than ever, but crucially, we’re far more tough mentally than we’ve arguably been in decades.

The Reds will brush the Mancs aside with a 3-0 victory, a result that could see Mourinho lose his job.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 16/12/2018

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Liverpool vs Napoli – Champions League Preview

Liverpool take on Napoli at Anfield in the final game of the Champions League group stage.

The equation is simple. Liverpool must either win 1-0 or by two clear goals in order to progress to the knockout stages. Failure means almost certain relegation to the Europa League.

Napoli are a fierce opponent and already can boast one win over the Reds. If Klopp’s men aren’t careful, this could quickly turn into a nightmare. A balance of intense focus and ruthless aggression must be met if we are to win the game and progress to the knockouts.

Liverpool Predicted Lineup and Team News

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Apart from the long-term injuries that are still hanging over us, Liverpool have no new injuries to report on.

The team should more or less pick itself aside from the midfield. There, Klopp has a pick of multiple options and formations. Keita and Fabinho’s form should see them retained in midfield, while Wijnaldum has been known to step up another gear in Champions League games.

Milner can’t be overlooked though as his experience and industry in the middle of the park could be invaluable. Klopp’s a big fan of Hendo as well, so it shouldn’t be too surprising if he is selected as well.

Napoli Predicted Lineup and Team News

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Carlo Ancellotti is blessed with a clean sheet in fitness terms, but that can sometimes be a curse in the sense of having too many options.

Piotr Zielinski was phenomenal in the first game and should therefore see his chances of starting rise. However, Masksimovic presents a far more defensively sound option at right-back, and in this game, there’s no reason for Napoli to take unnecessary risks.

The rest of the team more or less picks itself due to the quality of the starting players, but Milik could be included if Ancellotti decides to utilise a more direct approach in this game.

Pre-Game Analysis

This is an unusual game in the sense that it’s difficult to decide upon what approach each manager should take.

Should Klopp play safe and hope we pluck a goal? We’ve proven we’re capable of defending narrow leads now, but perhaps this is the game to go back to our old still of just attacking relentlessly and hope that we put enough goals past Napoli that it doesn’t matter if we concede.

Likewise, Ancellotti has to decide whether to go for the 0-0 draw and try to frustrate the home side, or push for a goal that would give them a lot of breathing space.

Prediction

Napoli will try and push for that all important first goal, but that will play right into Liverpool’s hands.

Liverpool will snatch a goal on the counter and defend the lead from there. It feels strange to say that given our history, but this team is more than capable of doing the job tough now.

The Reds will progress to the next round after a nervy, but deserving, 1-0 victory. C’mon Liverpool!

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 11/11/2018

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Bournemouth vs Liverpool – Premier League Preview

Liverpool take on Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium in the last stop before the season heads into crunch time.

Bournemouth are no walk in the park, but they’re considerably less daunting than the prospect of facing Napoli in a must-win Champions League tie, as well as Manchester United in the same week.

Nevertheless, Eddie Howe’s men can’t be underestimated as they’re fully deserving of 7th place in the League so far, and are fairly applauded by many fans, pundits, and commentators for their impressive style of play and ability to give the big teams a run for their money.

Bournemouth Predicted Lineup and Team News

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In a disaster for Bournemouth’s season, and potentially England’s future centre-midfield, Lewis Cook Lewis Cook has been ruled out for six to nine months with a ruptured ACL. Even though I’m a Liverpool fan, I’d like to wish Lewis a swift recovery.

Another midfielder, Dan Gosling, is also unavailable this weekend due to a knee problem, so the central midfield pairing of Andrew Surman and Jefferson Lerma picks itself.

Junior Stanislas is an alternative to David Brooks on the right flank if Howe decides to rotate, though the form of Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser will surely see those two players line up for their third league match in eight days. However, Brooks is an outstanding player, so Howe may opt to play both him and Stanislas. Joshua King is also likely to feature, at least off the bench.

Liverpool Predicted Lineup and Team News

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Robertson and Wijnaldum are fit to feature after missing out in midweek, but Mane is unlikely to be ready to play after the Senegalese midfielder only started running on Friday.

Gomez, Lovren, and Clyne have also been ruled out, so Liverpool’s back four almost picks itself given that Robertson will surely oust Alberto Moreno at left-back for the trip to the Vitality Stadium.

Mane’s probable absence may mean that Klopp persists with a 4-3-3, with Roberto Firmino perhaps moving over to the left flank to fill in for the crocked winger. Fabinho and Wijnaldum may return to the team at the expense of Henderson and Milner, who both played 90 minutes on Wednesday, though Keita excelled at Turf Moor and could retain his start.

Pre-Game Analysis

Eddie Howe has favoured a three-man backline in away matches against “big six” sides this season but at the Vitality Stadium the Bournemouth boss has stuck with a 4-4-2 in fixtures against Arsenal and Manchester United, so we may see that second system used again for the visit of Liverpool.

David Brooks could also miss out (as he did against Manchester City) if Howe switches to a 3-4-3, with Tyrone Mings the likeliest candidate to play alongside Steve Cook and Nathan Ake at centre-back.

Liverpool could utilise either a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 in this game, but much will depend on who Klopp wishes to rest.

Prediction

Similar to last week, it’s difficult to make a prediction for the game when Klopp’s selections are so unclear. In any case, Liverpool should fancy themselves.

Bournemouth will put up a strong fight and won’t make life easy for the Reds, but given that a certain contingent of Liverpool’s players have started to spark into life recently, we should have enough for the win.

Liverpool will go top of the League, at least temporarily, with a resounding 3-1 victory.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 08/11/2018

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Burnley vs Liverpool – Premier League Preview

Liverpool take on Burnley at Turf Moor in the game that signals the beginning of the grueling Christmas period.

It’s true that Burnley have struggled this season and that they’re not the same tricky opponents as in previous years. However, that’s not to say that they’ll just roll over and gift Liverpool and early Christmas present.

The Reds will have to be at their best to break down and stubborn home defence, particular given the fact that Klopp will almost certainly choose to rotate his side heavily for this game.

Burnley Predicted Lineup and Team News

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Nick Pope, Jonathan Walters, Stephen Ward, and Nakhi Wells will all miss the game, while there’s concern for Steven Defour, Robbie Brady, and Ben Gibson.

Defour will be assessed before the match, but it’s unlikely that Sean Dyche would risk one of his best players at this point of the season if he’s not 100% fit. Meanwhile, there’s been no update on Brady’s fitness after he was withdrawn against Crystal Palace with a knock, though he’s expected to start.

Gibson could also make his return, but like Defour, he may not be risked. Given the long list of injuries, Ashley Westwood and Aaron Lennon are legitimate options to come into the starting lineup.

Liverpool Predicted Lineup and Team News

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The only player that will certainly miss the game is Ox, as he’s still got some way to go on his long-term recovery. We could certainly use his talent and drive in midfield now though.

Elsewhere, there’s a number of players who have picked up various knocks, so the likes of Gomez, Lallana, Mane, and Robertson could all be given the game off to recuperate, though none of the injuries are considered to be serious and Gomez in particular is expected to play.

Klopp hinted that he would be rotating this game, so the likes of Keita, Lovren, Matip, Moreno, Sturridge, and Clyne may be given a rare chance to start. Hendo is also likely to return after missing the Everton game through suspension.

Pre-Game Analysis

Given the fact that Liverpool will be resting many of our key players, it’s extremely difficult to predict what team or even formation Klopp will go with, let alone give an analysis on how the game will go.

One thing’s for certain: Burnley will be well up for the game and will recognise Liverpool’s vulnerabilities without some of our stars. That could even mean that we see a more attacking approach from Dyche’s men than we’re used to, as without our regular front three, we’ll be less potent on the counter.

Those who do come in for the Reds will have their work cut out for them, as Turf Moor is far from the easiest place in the world to go with a weakened side. We’ll need to be tight at the back, particularly from set-pieces, and take as many of the few chances we’ll get to secure the win.

Prediction

Again, this is a nearly impossible job considering all of the unknowns surrounding this game, but it will almost certainly be a low-scoring game.

Much will depend on how confident Burnley are feeling on the day and their willingness to attack, as well as Liverpool’s rotational players and how well they grab their opportunity for more regular game time.

Burnley will throw everything they’ve got at us, but we should still have enough to limp away with a narrow 1-0 victory.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 05/11/2018

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Liverpool vs Everton – Premier League Preview

After a depressing night in Paris, the Reds have to bounce back in the Premier League, and what better time to do so than in the Merseyside Derby?

Everton come into the game in great form and it’s commonly speculated that this’ll be the best and most competitive Merseyside Derby in years, especially considering the fact  that Marco Silva has got his side playing attacking football.

Let’s hope the Reds can give the Blues another miserable Christmas by beating them in what is still one of the most important games of the season.

Liverpool Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Jordan Henderson misses the game through suspension, although many fans will view that as a blessing in disguise as Fabinho will likely be given the chance to make his mark. Adam Lallana is still unfit, while long-terms injuries to players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remain the same.

Trent Alexander-Arnold will almost certainly return to the team, which means that Joe Gomez will rightfully shift to centre-back.

The rest of the team will be unchanged, save for the fact that Klopp will most likely switch back to the 4-2-3-1 that had been working so well recently. This’ll mean that Xherdan Shaqiri will come back into the team.

Everton Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Everton on the other hand have a mostly full-strength squad to pick from, and the only problems they face are which players to omit.

Everton’s back five have been as solid as a Blues defence has been in decades, and the same could arguably be said for their midfield. Although it’s questionable as to whether Silva will persevere with Bernard and Theo Walcott as the former is more of a central player, and the latter should arguably be dropped for Ademola Lookman on form.

Cenk Tosun may be one player who’d be unfortunate to miss out on the Derby, along with the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin and Mason Holgate.

Pre-Game Analysis

For once, Everton will certainly look to take the game to Liverpool from the first minute until the last, a draw would be enough, but the Blues will be looking to score and win, not just hang on for dear life.

That’s not to say that they wouldn’t sit back if they were to take the lead, so if the worst happened, it could be very difficult for Liverpool to find space and come back.

The flip side of that is that Everton will be far more open than in previous years in this fixture, so they may be susceptible to being hit on the counter if they try and go toe to toe with Liverpool.

Prediction

Both sides want the win badly, not just for bragging rights, but to kick off this hectic schedule with a win.

The momentum gained or lost from the fixture could have a significant impact on the direction of both clubs’ seasons, and the overall Premier League landscape, in particular, the title race.

Everton will play admirably, and it’ll be a thrilling game of back and forth, but Liverpool will take the day with a 2-0 victory.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 02/11/2018

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PSG vs Liverpool – Champions League Preview

It goes without saying for any Champions League game, but this one in particular, neither side will be satisfied with anything other than a win.

For Liverpool, it’s a golden opportunity to amend for past mistakes in the competition, especially the shocking loss to Red Star. A win here would guarantee qualification to the knockout rounds, while a draw or loss would leave them relying on other results and having to beat Napoli.

PSG face a similarly perilous position, but theirs is slightly more complex. They also face the prospect of relegation to the Europa League, but for them, that’d represent the ultimate failure of the ‘Neymar Experiment’, and could spell the end for the manager, and many players.

PSG Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Thomas Tuchel had the unenviable prospect of taking on a near-full strength without his star duo of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Fortunately, for him, both were declared fit and are expected to play tonight, which is a shame for Liverpool as their absence would’ve made winning far easier. As things stand, Reds fans will have to hope that our defence is up to the challenge, as they were at Anfield in the previous encounter.

Other than that, PSG’s lineup should offer little in the way of surprises, the only other significant possibilities are the inclusion of Julian Draxler and Juan Bernat.

Liverpool Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Liverpool will almost certainly select their strongest lineup, but there are a few players to be considered, particularly in the midfield.

Jordan Henderson is likely to start because he’s ineligible to play against Everton on the weekend. However, Fabinho’s deep knowledge of PSG’s players may come in handy if he’s preferred. Naby Keita is also a contender in what would be his long-awaited return.

Many fans will be hoping to see Xherdan Shaqiri play, but its doubtful that Klopp will try his relatively new 4-2-3-1 system in what will be a highly taxing game.

Pre-Game Analysis

PSG will still be hurting from the loss they suffered at Anfield, as many expected them to have too much firepower for the Merseysiders.

Mbappe, Neymar, and Edison Cavani in particular will be fired up and ready to try and make it up to their fans on home soil. It’ll be another major test for Liverpool’s defence, but one that they have already shown to be capable of overcoming.

Liverpool will be looking to exploit PSG’s likely intentions to attack from the off, meaning our midfield and attack will have to take advantage of the counter-attacking opportunities that the defence can provide.

Prediction

Both sides possess immense strengths and few weaknesses, so much will depend on which side takes their chances on the day, as they will surely come in droves.

Both sides tactical approach to the match should be almost as interesting as the game itself, as both teams prefer to hit teams on the counter. Someone will have to take the initiative in this game.

It’ll be a tough night, particularly for the defenders, but Liverpool will emerge victorious in a thrilling 3-2 encounter.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 28/11/2018

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Watford vs Liverpool – Premier League Preview

After the monotony of the international break, it’s time to get back to watching Liverpool every week.

In our first game back, the Reds take on a Watford side that have largely struggled for points since their impressive four wins from four games at the start of the season.

Regardless, some of Liverpool’s toughest games in this campaign have been away fixtures against smaller clubs such as Crystal Palace and Huddersfield Town, so there’s no reason to think the Hornets will make life easy at Vicerage Road.

Watford Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Javi Gracia benefited from the international break as very few of his players were called away, and many of those who remained at the club have now either returned from injury or suspension during the elapsed time.

Etienne Capoue has served his ban, and the likes of Tom Cleverley, Will Hughes, and Sebastian Prodl have recovered well from their respective injuries.

Nathaniel Chalobah could be retained ahead of Capoue however given the former’s excellent recent performances. Isacc Success and Roberto Pereyra arrived back late from their international games and could be rested for the likes of Troy Deeney and Andre Gray.

Liverpool Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Jurgen Klopp didn’t have the luxury of getting to train with the majority of his squad for two, uninterrupted weeks. Quite the opposite was true for the German, but despite this, Liverpool have a nearly full squad to choose from.

Jordan Henderson has returned from a hamstring injury and could possibly start ahead of Fabinho. Naby Keita has also recovered from injury, but unlike Hendo, he was forced to travel with his national side, which could see his Liverpool return delayed.

Xherdan Shaqiri is always an option now as well, but further changes would likely happen at the back, if Klopp elects to rotate at all. Alberto Moreno could come in for Andy Robertson after he played two full games for Scotland. Dejan Lovren could come back into the side as well.

Pre-Game Analysis

One of the great unknowns in this game will be whether Klopp decides to utilise a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3. In the past few weeks, I’ve been very vocal in my assertion that Klopp should use the former far more often than he currently is because it allows Shaq to play and the results have been telling.

However, in this game Klopp should, and probably will, stick with the 4-3-3 simply because Watford play very narrow and overload the midfield. Pereyra in particular is a threat on the right, although he often drifts inside and occupies the half-spaces created by Deulofeu.

Mo Salah has a tremendous goal-scoring record against Watford, and all fans will be hoping to see that trend continue. All of the attackers need to step up though so that the defence doesn’t have to work as hard to secure the result, as we’ve seen in previous away games.

Prediction

Watford’s form isn’t brilliant, but the fact that they sit in seventh place ahead of the likes of Manchester United, Everton, and Leicester, is telling. They won’t roll over, and any result will have to be well and truly earned.

Liverpool’s form this season at both ends of the pitch is exemplary though, and the back-line in particular have been impressive. Another clean sheet and a couple of goals should be very achievable.

A win is needed and will come after Liverpool maintain a first-half lead. The Reds will head home as 2-0 winners.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 24/11/2018

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Liverpool vs Fulham – Premier League Preview

Liverpool have to move on from the disastrous result against Red Star and perform well against Fulham.

On paper, the Reds couldn’t ask for a better team to restore their confidence and the Cottagers are bottom of the table having only earned one win and two draws, while conceding 29 goals in 11 games.

What the result against Red Star did show however, is that Liverpool cannot afford to underestimate lesser opponents, and that will still be the case against Fulham.

Liverpool Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Klopp confirmed that Keita, Hendo, and Gomez are fit and available. Gomez could replace TAA at right-back after the latter struggled against Arsenal and Red Star, meaning Lovren may return at centre-back. Matip also played poorly in midweek and is unlikely to feature against Fulham.

Sturridge and Lallana didn’t impress against Red Star either, so are likely to return to the bench. Klopp has played with a 4-2-3-1 in the last two home fixtures with Shaqiri joining Salah, Firmino and Mane in attack.

Klopp has a wealth of options available to him in midfield and may rest Gini and Milner after both players have looked fatigued recently. Fabinho looks set for a recall, while Hendo could also return to the team. Keita is another option in midfield, particularly if Klopp sticks with a 4-3-3.

Fulham Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic has given no updates on Fulham’s injury situation with much of the talk surrounding his side’s woeful run of form and his precarious position as manager.

Joe Bryan presumably remains an injury doubt, while Kevin McDonald was substituted with a knock in the defeat to Huddersfield Town and his availability is unclear. Given that McDonald has been named in Scotland’s squad his problem is probably not too serious.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah could lose his place to Cyrus Christie at right-back after enduring a nightmare against Huddersfield. Stefan Johansen, Floyd Ayite and Aboubakar Kamara are among the peripheral squad players available to Jokanovic should he wish to mix things up again.

Pre-Game Analysis

Fulham’s struggles are well-documented and Liverpool are well placed on all areas of the pitch to be able to dominate the game.

However, Fulham’s biggest threat, and perhaps only hope for a result, is their Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. He has scored most of Fulham’s goals, and his linkup play is underrated.

Mitrovic excels at winning the ball in the air and then holding it up for the likes of Andre Schurrle, Ryan Sessegnon, and Luciano Vietto. If Liverpool’s centre-back pairing can stop him from winning these balls and holding up play, then Fulham’s chances of scoring will dramatically decline.

Prediction

This is a must-win game for Liverpool. The result is by far the most important thing, but Fulham at home presents the perfect opportunity for a return to form, a restoration of confidence, and to silence the doubters.

Fulham will smell blood after seeing the Reds lose to an inferior side, and will be desperate for a result given their current position, but Liverpool should assert themselves early and never give the Cottagers a sniff.

Liverpool will head into the international break having won in a convincing 4-0 result.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 06/11/2018

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Red Star vs Liverpool – Champions League Preview

No Excuses for Anything Less Than a Win

Liverpool head into matchweek four of the Champions League atop of their group and with a solid chance of progression.

The disappointment that some players may be feeling about the weekend’s result against Arsenal needs to be forgotten and moved on from.

Last time Liverpool faced Red Star, Klopp’s side strolled to a 4-0 victory, and the German will be looking for a similar performance in Serbia.

Red Star Belgrade – Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Red Star are a completely different side when they play at home because the atmosphere that the fans create inside the stadium inspires the team to play above their level.

This is how they were able to get a draw from Napoli, who are the only side to have beaten Liverpool in the Champions League so far. Although, PSG were able to thrash them, so once the first goal goes in, the floodgates can open.

As fans will remember from the game at Anfield, Red Star play physical football and that will be even more evident on their home patch. Liverpool will need to be patient, but potent, as they try to silence the home fans.

Liverpool – Team News and Predicted Lineup

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The biggest news out of the Liverpool camp is the Xherdan Shaqiri hasn’t travelled with the squad. This is disappointing as it sets a bad precedence. Sure, there’d been security warnings directed the Shaqiri stemming from his actions at the World Cup, but by all reports, the player wanted to go, so he should’ve played.

Elsewhere, Lovren missed the Arsenal game with a minor injury but should return for this game. This would take Trent out of the spotlight after his nightmare against Arsenal, while Gomez would move to right-back.

The midfield could be a combination of many players. Adam Lallana will surely be asking to start so that he can prove he deserves a more permanent role, and the same could be said of Sturridge up top.

Pre-Game Analysis

Klopp’s formation and lineup will be under scrutiny in this match as he has a number of difficult decisions to make.

Fabinho, for example, should arguably be dropped after his performance against Arsenal, but then again, he’ll get better with more game time, and it’s difficult to imagine a more appropriate match for the Brazilian to be used in.

Whatever the lineup and formation, Klopp will look to silence the home fans by playing the Serbians off the park from the get-go.

Prediction

A win would certainly make Liverpool’s path to progression much easier, and depending on the result in Naples between Napoli and PSG, it could make the top spot of the group much more attainable.

Liverpool most likely won’t be able to win by as big a margin as last time because Red Star are far better at home, but the result should be the same.

It may take some time to break down the Serbs’ stubborn defence, but Liverpool will ultimately walk away as 2-0 winners.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 06/11/2018

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Arsenal vs Liverpool – Premier League Preview

Big Test for Both Sides

Two of the Premier League’s most inform teams will do battle at the Emirates, and the stakes are exceptionally high for such an early point in the season.

For Arsenal, the hosts, this is their greatest test since Unai Emery’s philosophy has started to bear fruit. Much has been made of their long unbeaten run, but it’s been quite some time since they’ve faced a team of Liverpool’s quality.

For Liverpool, this is a must win game. Not only because it is against a top-four rival, but because both Chelsea and Manchester City picked up all three points at the Emirates. If Liverpool want to stake their claim as genuine title contenders, then anything other than a win must be seen as a failure.

Arsenal Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Arsenal limp into this fixture with some key absences. Their defence are on their last legs, although their formidable attack is as potent as ever.

Mohamed Elneny, Laurent Koscielny, Kostantinos Mavropanos, and Matteo Guendouzi will all miss this weekend’s fixture. While the likes of Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac, Nacho Monreal, and Sokratis will be assessed as close to kick-off as possible.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles could come in to replace Bellerin if he’s not fit to start, while supposed Liverpool transfer target Aaron Ramsey could be brought into the midfield in Emery elects to add more numbers in the centre of the park.

Liverpool Team News and Predicted Lineup

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It will likely be too soon for either of Jordan Henderson or Naby Keita to be in contention against Arsenal, but other than that, Liverpool’s lineup will be strong.

The rest of the team more or less picks itself, especially the defence, and to a lesser extent, the midfield, given the poor recent showings by Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana.

The only doubt is whether Klopp will elect to retain Xherdan Shaqiri meaning that Liverpool will lineup closer to a 4-2-3-1. This would be a bold move by Klopp, but one that could play dividends.

Pre-Game Analysis

If Shaqiri plays, and Klopps trust Gini Wijnaldum and Fabinho to control the midfield as they’ve done in the last two games, then Arsenal’s makeshift defence will be put under even more pressure. If Milner plays though, it will mean Liverpool have a better chance of nullifying the impact of players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal have a record of starting slow this season, which may sway Klopp’s decision to try and kill the game early with a Shaqiri-spearheaded blitz. However, Emery is a shrewd manager and will have planned for Klopp’s attack well.

Liverpool will need to punish Arsenal if they linger on the ball too long, as they are a side who prefer to play out from the back. However, if they get the ball further afield, then they have every chance of scoring goals.

Prediction

Both managers will have had their eyes on this fixture for many weeks now, and as such, both will have prepared game plans that they believe will secure the win.

Liverpool will be the more desperate of the two for a victory, but that’s not to say Arsenal won’t be giving it a real crack at home.

Ultimately, Liverpool’s defence should be able to repel Arsenal’s formidable attack more often than not, but the same won’t be said of the Gunner’s defence against whichever attacking combination Klopp prefers. A well earned 3-1 victory for the Reds will make a  real statement going forward.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

 

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 27/10/2018

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