Crystal Palace vs Liverpool

Reds Return to Action at Selhurst Park

Now that the international break is finally over it’s time to get back to what really matters, Liverpool in the Premier League and Champions League.

Liverpool will tomorrow square off with Roy Hodgson’s resurgent Crystal Palace in a game where both sides will be desperate for a good result.

Palace are still facing the possibility of relegation, whereas the Reds will be keen to keep the pressure on both Spurs and Chelsea who are behind them in the race for a top-four finish.

Crystal Palace

Team News and Predicted Lineup

crypal

Former Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson will have the job of trying to derail the rampant Reds, but he could find himself outgunned.

Some of his key players are under an injury cloud including the likes of Jefferey Schlupp, James Tomkins and most importantly Wilfried Zaha.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek may feature in a five-man midfield if Zaha is out, while Timothy Fosu-Mensah or Martin Kelly could replace Tomkins.

Liverpool

Team News and Predicted Lineup

crypalpool

Both Emre Can and Dejan Lovren had minor injuries before the international break and will likely be given more time to recover.

Andy Robertson picked up a knock for Scotland, but he should be able to start, unlike Joe Gomez who picked up a potentially serious ankle injury for England.

The team more or less picks itself with the injuries mentioned above, but Alberto Moreno could give Robertson a rest, while Gini Wjnaldum could start in the midfield.

Analysis

An interesting theme to this game is that there a number of ex-Reds who could feature aside from the manager, including Mamadou Sakho, Martin Kelly and Christian Benteke.

Zaha and Benteke are stylistically similar to Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku who were able to defeat Liverpool a few weeks ago.

However, the Reds will have learnt from the mistakes made in that game, and they will be more than confident of being able to crack Palace’s defence multiple times.

Prediction

This will be a big test for Liverpool, as they have to overcome three factors that have led to dropped points in the past.

The game is against one of our ‘bogey teams’, it’s an early kickoff, and it’s straight after the international break.

Regardless, this Liverpool team has been breaking bad habits this year and will do so again on the weekend with a 1-3 win.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

 

Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – 30/03/2018

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Liverpool vs Watford – Preview

Time To Bounce Back

After the disappointing loss last week at Old Trafford, it is more important than ever to play well and pick up a win.

Last night it was announced that Manchester City will be Liverpool’s opponent in the Champions League quarter-finals, and that the games will fall either side of the Merseyside Derby.

Now is the time to rebuild form and pick up as many points in the league as possible, particularly against mid-table teams.

Liverpool

Team News and Predicted Lineup

livwat

Nathaniel Clyne won’t be match fit, but everyone else should be available for tonight’s match.

Jordan Henderson will probably come back into the team, as could Gini Wijnaldum at the expense of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Joel Matip and Joe Gomez could also be options to replace Dejan Lovren and Trent Alexander-Arnold after their poor showings against Manchester United.

Watford

Team News and Predicted Lineup

wat

Conversely, Watford have been plagued by injuries and absences lately, and will be without many key players.

Gerard Deulofeu, Nathaniel Calabah, Tom Cleverley, Younes Kaboul and Christian Kabasele are just a few names that continue to be sidelined.

On the other hand though, the likes of Will Hughes and Heurelho Gomes could return and the tactics and formation could thereby be tweaked.

Analysis

This game will ultimately boil down to which unit can get the better of the other between Liverpool’s attack and Watford’s defence.

If Watford can frustrate Liverpool, they also have goalscorers in the team that could cause an upset including Troy Deeney, Richarlison and Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Mo Salah and Sadio Mane will be itching to put in an improved display after lacklustre performances against United.

Prediction

Despite the disappointing performance last week, Liverpool should have no problems turning Watford over at Anfield.

If Liverpool start well, then Watford could again lose convincingly on the road as they did against Arsenal last week.

Liverpool will roll on with a 3-0 victory.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

 

Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – 17/03/2018.

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Manchester United vs Liverpool : Preview

Battle for Pride and Second Place

 

Given that Manchester City are running away with the title, the next best thing would be to finish 2nd.

Finishing 2nd would mean that Liverpool have placed ahead of United for the second season running, even after Jose Mourinho’s fabled ‘second season’.

This fixture is undoubtedly the greatest rivalry in England, and one of the biggest games in world football.

In recent history, this fixture has been somewhat even, mainly due to Mourinho’s insistence of making an exciting fixture as dull as possible, leading to many draws.

It remains to be seen if the controversial Portuguese manager reverts to the same tactics given Liverpool’s red-hot form and ability to find the back of the net with regularity.

Manchester United

Team News and Predicted Lineup

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United are missing several players through injury including Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, Anthony Martial is also a major doubt.

Paul Pogba picked up a leg gash in training which could keep him out, if so, Mourane Fellaini could come into the team.

The rest of the team will be the same lineup that’s featured in the last few weeks, but Mourinho could switch to a 4-2-3-1 as he did in the closing stages of their match against Crystal Palace.

Liverpool

Team News and Predicted Lineup

livmanuted

Gini Wijnaldum is unlikely to feature as he recovers from illness, and Jordan Henderson is a doubt after suffering a dead leg against Porto.

The back five and front three pick themselves, but the midfield could be subject to change depending on availability.

If Henderson is fit to start then either James Milner or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will drop out of the team, but Dejan Lovren will almost certainly start ahead of Joel Matip.

Analysis

 

Bias aside, it is clear that Liverpool are currently a superior team to United, they’re lucky to be in second place, but it is impressive how they are able to pick up wins and draws when they’re playing badly.

United’s plan will the same as usual under Mourinho, try to nick a goal while sitting back and defending for their lives.

Jurgen Klopp’s men will have to be in top form to break their stubborn defence down and snatch 2nd place from United’s hands.

Prediction

 

When the two teams faced each other earlier in the season, United were flying, and Liverpool were struggling.

Even then, United could only just hang on for a draw, but this time the tables have turned; Liverpool are playing tremendously and United are just scraping by and they have a crucial Champions League game in a few days.

This time around, Liverpool will break through Mourinho’s bus and silence Old Trafford with a 3-1 win.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

 

Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – 10/03/2018.

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Liverpool vs Porto : 2nd Leg Preview

Liverpool Look to Finish the Job

The Reds head into the second leg of their round of 16 tie against Porto already ahead 5-0 on aggregate.

All that is need to progress to the quarter-finals is a professional performance, void of repeated slip-ups.

Both sides will have one eye on their respective leagues as Porto know their chances of progression are slim, and Liverpool have a season-defining match against Manchester United in a matter of days.

Liverpool

Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Jurgen Klopp has been somewhat cryptic this week when asked about the possibility of rotating his players, flirting with minimal and generous rotation.

Nathaniel Clyne aside, every single Liverpool player should be available, but many deserve a rest.

Loris Karius doesn’t though and should continue in goal in front of an entirely new back four. Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, James Milner and a returning Adam Lallana will make a strong midfield behind Danny Ings and Dominic Solanke who both need more game time.

Porto

Team News and Predicted Lineup

port

Sergio Conceicao faces a similar scenario and will be deciding whether to try and restore some European pride or merely resign to defeat and focus on the league.

The dangerous Vincent Aboubakar and solid Felipe are fit to return after missing the first leg and will itching to impress.

Unfortunately though, Porto also have many including strikers Tiquinho Soares and Moussa Marega, as well as talented fullback Alex Telles.

Analysis

 

This fixture is a difficult one to analyse given the unusually low stakes surrounding this round of 16 second leg tie.

The presence of Aboubakar will change the dynamics of Porto’s attack, but so will the absence of Telles, Marega and Soares.

Liverpool, regardless of the side that turns out, should have enough to see off the Portuguese champions, but if a close to full strength side plays, then a repeat result of the first leg could be on the cards.

Liverpool showed that they can cope with just about everything Porto have to throw at them, but the same can’t be said of the reverse.

Prediction

If Klopp chooses to rotate heavily, Porto will start with their tails up and attempt to get at Liverpool. But a goal or two will quell this, and Liverpool will stroll to a 2-1 victory.

If Klopp chooses to maintain recent momentum and rotate minimally, then Liverpool will get to a 3-0 lead and then take off their key players and just go through the motions until the final whistle.

Either way, Liverpool should get through to the quarter-finals without much effort.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

 

Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – 06/03/2018.

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Liverpool vs Newcastle : Preview

Reds Seek to Maintain Recent Momentum

Liverpool head into this weekend’s fixture in red-hot form and will be hoping that their recent goal rush continues.

Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle are also in decent form however, and are unbeaten in their previous four games. They’ve only lost twice in their last 10 with those defeats coming against Manchester City and Chelsea.

The Reds are chasing a top-four finish, but The Magpies have the burning motivation of a relegation battle and have proven to be a tough team to beat, despite finding wins hard to come by.

Liverpool

Team News and Predicted Lineup

livvsnew

Jurgen Klopp all but confirmed earlier in the week that he intends on fielding his strongest XI from now until the end of the season, so there should be little in the way of rotation.

On top of that, Danny Ings and Gini Wijnaldum are ill, and Nathaniel Clyne is highly unlikely to return despite playing 90 mins for the u23s earlier in the week.

Jordan Henderson could return after a niggling injury saw him miss the last couple of games, but if not, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will retain his place and Emre Can will shift back to the holding role.

Newcastle

Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Newcastle will miss Islam Slimani through a thigh injury, and Aleksander Mitrovic will probably not return in time for the trip to Anfield.

Dwight Gayle and Jonjo Shelvey are also slight doubts with a hamstring strain and a knee problem respectively, but they should be fit to start by kick-off.

The remaining players more or less pick themselves, partly due to form, and partly because Newcastle’s squad depth is far from their greatest strength.

Analysis

Liverpool face a similar, but arguably more difficult task as they did last week due to Benitez’s defence being far more compact and organised than David Moyes’.

The first half against West Ham was tightly contested, but in the second The Reds were able to blitz their opponents and completely blow them out of the water as they have done to so many teams at Anfield this season.

The simple analysis is that Liverpool have to keep doing what they’ve been doing; defending intelligently and attacking ruthlessly.

Newcastle’s approach will also be a predictable and simple one. They will attempt to achieve a repeat of the performance and result against Manchester United by being dogged in defence and efficient in attack.

Salah will be bear the brunt of the responsibility in attack as neither Florian Lejeune nor Paul Dummett are capable of keeping up with his pace.

Ultimately though, the entire team will have to be on their game to break down a stubborn defence and force them into making the same mistakes that West Ham did.

The weather could also play a factor depending on how heavily the snow continues to fall in Liverpool. If it continues the way it has been then it could severely stunt Liverpool’s attacking outlets by slowing down the flow of play.

Prediction

This is going to be another important test for Liverpool, as they mustn’t give the teams around them hope by dropping points.

Newcastle will be difficult to break down in the snow, but if Liverpool are ahead by the second half, then The Reds should be able to overrun The Geordies.

Liverpool will head into the midweek return game against Porto having defeated Newcastle 2-0.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – 04/03/2018.

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Liverpool vs West Ham – Preview

Football is Back as The Reds Take On The Hammers

Liverpool

Team News and Predicted Lineup

livwest

Jurgen Klopp will almost certainly retain the majority of the players who starred against Porto in the Champions League. The only exception to this will be Emre Can who previously missed out due to suspension; he could replace Jordan Henderson as the holding midfielder. Other players who could spring a surprise include the returning Alberto Moreno and Trent Gomez, as well as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Matip who could also be handed starting roles.

 

West Ham

Team News and Predicted Lineup

west

West Ham’s team selection will not be nearly as straightforward thanks to a number of injuries and a suspension to Artur Masuaku. Edmilison Fernandes, Pedro Obiang and Andy Carroll are not expected to be fit in time, but Manuel Lanzini and Winston Reid will be assessed before the game to see if they will be ready to play. Michel Antonio has been covering at left wing-back, but if Reid returns then Aaron Cresswell will likely take Antonio’s place. If Lanzini is fit to start, David Moyes will have plenty of options both with his formation and players, given the fact that Lanzini can play behind the striker or in a deeper role.

 

Analysis

Both sides have had a relatively long time to prepare for this match as neither squad had midweek cup games to play. Klopp used this time to take his players to Spain for another one of his ‘mini pre-seasons’ in preparation for the road ahead. This should mean that the players will be well rested and well drilled in order to break down what will undoubtedly be a stubborn and deep West Ham defence-line. The key for Liverpool will be to try and exploit West Ham’s lack of pace down their right-hand side and turn Pablo Zabaleta and James Collins as often as possible. Barring a moment of magic, a set piece goal, or a long-range strike, Liverpool may find their chances few and far between unless they can get a quick goal and force West Ham to open up.

Moyes has likewise had plenty of time to prepare his side for the challenge of going to Anfield and getting a result. He will certainly have focused his attention on Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah and plotted to halt their impressive form. West Ham will have to allow Liverpool plenty of possession and try to hit them hard with the in-form Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez on the counter. If they concede a goal before Liverpool are ready to see the game out, then they could be lured into another thrashing as they were at the Olympic Stadium.

Prediction

Liverpool have worked hard this season to improve their results against sides who sit deep and invite pressure. Sometimes it has worked, and sometimes it hasn’t. However, The Reds have shown far greater consistency in this aspect recently and their current form along with being back at home should be enough to see them over the line. It’s entirely possible that West Ham could frustrate Liverpool as the likes of Swansea have done, but it’s also possible that Liverpool will steamroll the Hammers again. For this match I’m predicting a similar game to the recent one against Southampton and Liverpool will stroll to a comfortable and important 2-0 victory.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea for Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 23/02/2018.

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Porto vs Liverpool – Preview

Reds’ First UCL Knock-Out Clash in 9 Years

Porto

Team News

FC Porto head into the tie with some talented players missing through injury or suspension. Defensively Porto will be without Felipe, their best centre-back, through suspension and midfield enforcer Danilo Pereira may not return from injury in time for the first-leg. He is ordinarily crucial in allowing other players around him to venture forward as he covers for them. In attack they could be missing their greatest weapon as well, Vincent Aboubakar will be assessed before the game to see if he is fit enough to feature.

Predicted Lineup

porto

Despite these difficulties, Sergio Conceicao will still have a wealth of talent to chose from as he plots to head to Anfield in a strong position. Much like Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet at Liverpool, Iker Casillas and Jose Sa have had to share the goalkeeping position this season. Given the spectacle of the match though, Conceicao will likely rely upon the experience that Casillas possess to protect and organise a potentially makeshift back-line. Alex Telles and Ricardo Pereira will be the starting fullbacks, with Diego Reyes and Ivan Marcano in the middle. Marcano is also under an injury cloud though, so if he is also unable to play, then Porto’s defensive solidity will suffer greatly. In the midfield, Yacine Brahimi and Jesus Corona will flank Hector Herrera and Sergio Oliviera. Moussa Marega and Tiquinho Soares will spearhead the Porto attacking line.

Liverpool

Team News

Jurgen Klopp also has a couple of absences to deal with when deciding on his lineup. Emre Can is suspended, while Joe Gomez, Ragnar Klavan and Nathaniel Clyne have only just returned to varying degrees of training.

Predicted Lineup

portvsliv

Klopp all but confirmed that Karius would retain his place ahead of Mignolet, despite the fact that Karius played in most of the cup games when he was second-choice behind Mignolet. Dejan Lovren will likely be the only change to the defence that saw off Southampton. Joel Matip didn’t do enough to retain his place in my opinion, and it’s entirely possible the Klopp was either resting Lovren for this game or merely protecting him from a potentially volatile return to his former club. In the midfield, Jordan Henderson will replace Can while Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will probably retain their places mainly due to a lack of serious competition. James Milner is the only other realistic alternative as Adam Lallana is still toiling for fitness. The front three will, of course, remain the same.

Analysis

Porto are not a team to be underestimated by any stretch of the imagination. They’re quick, strong, well-organised and have a habit of winning. Most worryingly of all though, they excel at the very tactics that Liverpool struggle with, they can sit back comfortably and then destroy teams on the counter. They also have a few players who are dangerous from set-pieces, another weakness for Liverpool. Luckily though, some players who are integral that that system may be absent, or at least not operating at 100% for the game. It will be intriguing to see how Porto approach this game as they will surely feel that they must not head to Anfield in the second-leg at a deficit. Acknowledging that, they will either double-down on their defensive efforts to cover their lesser replacements and try to nick a narrow victory on the counter, or they will try and ambush Liverpool’s inconsistent defenders by playing far more aggressively in attack then they usually do. The first option seems far more likely though, as the latter would be playing right into the Reds’ hands, as long as they remain focused.

Liverpool on the other hand will undoubtedly approach this game in their usual, high-press, counter-attacking style. It is essential for the defenders to concentrate for the full 90 minutes as Porto certainly have the talent to punish any lapses from open play or from set-pieces. The midfield battle will be as crucial as ever, but even more so if Danilo Pereira is missing for Porto. If Liverpool can dominate the middle of the park, it will make Porto’s chances very few and far between. Liverpool’s attack is clearly their greatest strength, with Salah and Firmino in great form and even Mane is still dangerous despite being in somewhat of a slump. Salah in particular can turn one of Porto’s strengths, overlapping fullbacks, into a weakness. Telles, while being excellent going forward, is regarded as being occasionally suspect in defence and will undoubtedly leave space in behind for Salah to exploit at some stage. This will have the double effect creating chances for Liverpool, and pinning back one of Porto’s best attacking outlets.

Prediction

Porto’s missing players may prove to be too big a hurdle for them to overcome as an in-form Liverpool could tear them to shreds on a good night. Salah and Mane should find plenty of space behind their attacking-minded fullbacks, which could spell disaster for Porto if they turn the ball over. The big questions in this match will be: Can Liverpool’s defenders remain error-free over 90 minutes, and can Porto balance their tactics so they are not entirely exposed every time they attempt to attack? I believe Liverpool have the upper hand in this regard and, providing they all play to near their best, will return to Anfield ahead in the tie 3-1.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea for Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 14/02/2018.

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Southampton vs Liverpool – Preview

Another Tough Test at St. Mary’s

Southampton

Team News

Southampton have no new injury concerns but will continue to be without Charlie Austin and Matt Targett, although it is questionable whether either would’ve made the starting XI anyway.

Predicted Lineup

southampton

Mauricio Pellegrino, who made 12 appearances for Liverpool and spent four years at Anfield as a coach under Rafa Benitez, will most likely pick the same team that defeated West Brom last week. The likes of Maya Yoshida and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg will probably have to settle for the bench, while Steven Davies is another option in midfield or behind the striker. Guido Carrillo will make only his second appearance for the club since his move from Monaco and should start ahead of both Shane Long and Manolo Gabbiadini.

Liverpool

Team News

Joe Gomez is the only new injury to crop up for Liverpool, a slight knock to the knee will see him miss this game, while Nathaniel Clyne remains out of the picture. Ragnar Klavan, Alberto Moreno and Adam Lallana could all potentially return to the squad after rejoining the team in training.

Predicted Lineup

SotvsLiv

Another tricky lineup to predict as Jurgen Klopp will undoubtedly have one eye on the midweek fixture against FC Porto in the Champions League. Southampton away is never an easy game though, and St. Mary’s is a ground where Klopp has struggled in the past. Klopp will rotate certain players, but will likely avoid sacrificing his front three. Dejan Lovren, Andy Robertson, James Milner and Jordan Henderson could all be rested while Moreno, Joel Matip, Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could return to the starting XI. If Klopp wanted to take this rotation even further, then the likes of Simon Mignolet, Klavan, Lallana, Dominic Solanke and Danny Ings could be considered, but are less likely to feature, at least not from a starting position.

Analysis

Unlike previous seasons under different managers, it is unlikely that Southampton will look to sit back and defend for 90 minutes. Pellegrino often plays more adventurous football against the bigger sides, and like Klopp often struggles against teams who do sit deep. However, despite being unbeaten in six games Southampton may seek to revert to their old ways in search of a vital draw as they find themselves only one point clear of the relegation zone. The likes of Mario Lemina and James Ward-Prowse are in top form and will be crucial to any success that Southampton may have in the game.

Liverpool need to produce a victory against a side who have become somewhat of a bogey team in recent years. Anything other than a win could potentially see the Reds slide into fifth place by the end of the round. Liverpool will hope to exploit holes left in the defence if Southampton attempt to drive forward through the likes of Lemina and Ward-Prowse. If they sit back though, some magic from the front three will be required to unlock their stubborn defence.

Prediction

The result of this game will largely depend upon the tactics employed by Pellegrino and the amount of squad rotation that Klopp feels comfortable implementing. If Klopp fields a strong side and Pellegrino opts to play openly, then there is no reason Liverpool can’t punish the Saints. However, I’m expecting a tighter game, one that ends in a hard-earned, but ultimately comfortable 2-0 victory to the Reds.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea for Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 11/02/2018.

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Liverpool vs Tottenham – Preview

Crucial Clash at Anfield

Liverpool

Team News

Liverpool’s squad has been scaled-back somewhat during the transfer window, and despite a couple of absences, there are also a few players who are available to return to the fold. Ragnar Klavan and Adam Lallana will most likely not feature, but Alberto Moreno and Virgil Van Dijk could return.

Predicted Lineup

LivTotLine

Loris Karius, Andy Robertson and Joe Gomez will retain their places, but the centre-back pairing could be changed. Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren helped to keep a clean sheet against Huddersfield, but it is hard to imagine that Jurgen Klopp would not pick Van Dijk if he is fit. The midfield will be the hardest area of the pitch to predict due to recently returned players as well as the form of others. Emre Can, Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been hot and cold in the last few weeks, whereas both Jordan Henderson and James Milner greatly impressed in their first starts in a long time. There are arguments to be made for a number of midfield combinations here, but the one listed above is what I believe to be currently the strongest and is what Klopp will likely go with. The front three pick themselves despite Mane’s shaky form.

Tottenham

Team News

Tottenham will have also some returning players to potentially call on to make their return. The likes of Toby Alderweireld, Harry Winks and Serge Aurier have returned to training, but it is unknown whether this game will be too soon for all or some of them to feature. Spurs have also acquired the services of the talented Lucas Moura, but Mauricio Pochettino has hinted that he is unlikely to debut at Anfield.

Predicted Lineup

LivTotLineTot

Pochettino claimed in his press conference that his team will be looking to attack Liverpool despite the danger that the Reds present going forward. Whether or not this claim proves to be entirely true will largely dictate the team that starts at Anfield. Alderweireld and Aurier may find themselves on the bench after only just returning, but Danny Rose should come in for Ben Davies after sitting on the bench for the victory over Manchester United. Other than this, Tottenham’s defence should look the same as it did in the previous game. In the midfield, Eric Dier will retain his place while Moussa Dembele could make way for Victor Wanyama if Pochettino decides to sacrifice an attacking option for defensive solidity. Similarly the front four should remain the same for Spurs. However, Moussa Sissoko could be preferred instead of Heung-Min Son due to his ability to get back and assist the defence.

Analysis

Liverpool will predictably seek to keep the game at a frantic tempo both on and off the ball. It will be vital for the Reds to cut off the supply to Spurs’ formidable attacking players by hounding the likes of Wanyama and Dier, forcing them to commit errors. Salah and Mane will attempt to test the concentration of the Tottenham defence, aided by the movement of Roberto Firmino. Should Rose be missing from the starting lineup, then the task should become somewhat less difficult. If Liverpool can rattle Tottenham early, there’s every chance that this could turn into a repeat of the first 60 minutes against Manchester City.

 

Tottenham’s approach is certainly less predictable, but they will be confident regardless of the tactics chosen. Harry Kane will undoubtedly be the key if they want to get a result, but the threats of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Son cannot be ignored. Jan Vertonghen is an outstanding centre-back in typically excellent form, but his task at Anfield will be considerably greater than some of the other challenges he’s faced. One of his fiercest challenges surprisingly stems from Liverpool’s defence rather than attack. Van Dijk’s considerable aerial presence could cause Spurs problems as they, like Liverpool, are guilty of conceding cheap goals from set pieces at times.

Prediction

This is a tough game to call. There’s solid arguments for either side, making a draw distinctly possibile as well. However, there are a number of factors that I believe give Liverpool the edge. Firstly, Liverpool will be out for revenge after the mauling in the reverse fixture. Secondly, Spurs record at Anfield is quite poor, having not won there in over seven years. Lastly, Liverpool would appear to have the stylistic advantage as Spurs do not stack up as well if they were to go ‘toe-to-toe’ with the Reds as the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City tried and failed to do. As long as Liverpool’s defenders remain focused, the likes of Salah, Firmino and hopefully a resurgent Mane should be able to do the rest. Liverpool will run out convincing 3 – 1 winners thanks to a Mane brace and a Firmino clincher overshadowing Kane’s 100th Premier League goal.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea for Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 04/02/2018.

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Liverpool vs Leicester

Reds Host Reigning Champions Leicester In First Home Game of the Season

After the agony of waiting during the international break, the Premier League is finally back for another thrilling round of action. Liverpool will unveil their newly renovated main stand for the first time against Leicester City in what should be an exciting game of football.

Liverpool

Team News

The Reds will be without Ragnar Klaven and Emre Can through respective knee and ankle injuries, whilst the trio of Loris Karius, Joe Gomez and Sheyi Ojo continue to be sidelined. Encouragingly, Karius has resumed training, but the game against the Foxes will likely come too soon for him to make his debut. Despite receiving a knock for Senegal over the international break, Sadio Mane trained normally and is expected to start out wide. Mamadou Sakho meanwhile appears to be fit, but Jurgen Klopp’s relationship the player is well documented to be shaky at best. However Klopp hinted this week that Sakho could feature this season as Klopp, in his own words, “is not silly enough to forget good performances.” It is clear though that he’ll need to get his fitness up, perhaps in cup games and the Premier League 2 with the u23s before he can be considered for a regular starting spot.

Lineup

liverpool-vs-leicester

Simon Mignolet will almost certainly retain his place for now, at least until Karius has had more time to train after his absence through a broken hand. The back four should also remain unchanged, although Alberto Moreno is an outside chance of starting in place of James Milner at left back. Can’s injury will see Jordan Henderson continue in a holding role, ahead of Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana. The front three are more difficult to predict, although after a grueling international break for Philippe Coutinho it is not unreasonable to think that he may be rested. If this happens then Daniel Sturridge will lead the line, supported by Roberto Firmino and Mane, with Coutinho likely to feature from the bench. However if Klopp deems him to be fit and ready to start the game then he could replace Wijnaldum in a 4-2-3-1 with Coutinho, Firmino, Mane and Sturridge ahead of Henderson and Lallana. Divock Origi is another player who will be in the mix as a potential starter, if not, expect to see him subbed on at some point for one of the tiring international stars.

Leicester

Team News

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri will be free to select almost anyone from his squad for the game at Anfield. The only absences will be Jefferey Schlupp and Nampalys Mendy, who are a week or so away from returning from respective ankle and muscle injuries. Kasper Schmeichel has returned from a minor hernia operation, but despite being fit, it’s unclear whether he will feature against the Reds or not.

Lineup

leicester

Despite returning from an operation, as previously stated, Schmeichel will likely start, although Ron-Robert Zieler is an excellent replacement if Ranieri decides to give the Dane some extra time off to recover. The back four of Danny Simpson, Robert Huth, Wes Morgan and Christian Fuchs will almost certainly remain unchanged, likewise Marc Albrighton, Daniel Amartey, Danny Drinkwater and the dangerous Riyad Mahrez should also retain their places in the starting lineup. Andy King and Demarai Gray are also options in the midfield that Ranieri could opt to start. Shinji Okazaki could also start after playing behind the ever-present Jamie Vardy against Swansea City. However, it is equally possible that speedster Ahmed Musa could return to the starting lineup, whilst club-record signing Islam Slimani could also start alongside Vardy. After little time to prepare for the game and train with his new teammates though, he is unlikely to start, but will be a dangerous option from the bench.

Analysis

Liverpool have had some mixed results this season, but will be looking to buck the trend of previous seasons by returning from the international break raring to go. The players and fans alike will be hoping for a win at Anfield after having waited three rounds to finally host a home game. Leicester, as they displayed last season will not be an easy game though, and the Reds will have to be close to their best to take three points from the game. Liverpool will hope that the speed of Mane will be able to link up effectively with the skill of Firmino and Sturridge, leading to a few goals and a win. The brunt of the pressure and expectation will however fall on the shoulders of the defence and midfield who need to step up their game against a dangerous Leicester outfit. The key battle will naturally be how well Huth and Morgan can deal with Liverpool’s potent trio, some assistance from the likes of Fuchs, Simpson and Drinkwater will certainly be necessary. If Liverpool are going to win though, a good performance from the defence and midfield is imperative.

Leicester will be hungry to prove to their fans and to the Premier League in general that they are not ‘one season wonders’ by getting a positive result at Anfield. After a disappointing loss to Hull, they were able to battle to a draw against Arsenal and sneak a win away at Swansea. Despite improving, the games against Arsenal and Swansea were far from impressive, but a good performance against the Reds will serve them well in their attempt to kick-start their season. The likes of Okazaki and Mahrez will be looking to exploit the Reds’ backline to feed Vardy, whilst Drinkwater and Amartey will attempt to impose themselves against an arguably weaker Liverpool midfield. The key battle will of course be if Milner can keep Mahrez quiet, and if Lovren and Matip are able to track Vardy’s penetrating runs.

Prediction

This game will be one of the most intriguing and difficult to predict matches of the round. Both teams naturally like to counter attack, however it is likely that Leicester will allow Liverpool plenty of possession at home, absorbing pressure for long stretches of the game until Liverpool overextend. If they can win the ball back in these kinds of situations, Liverpool’s midfield and defence will be hard pressed to deal with the Foxes’ danger men in Mahrez and Vardy. However I am predicting a 2-1 win for the Reds in their firs home game of the season, with goals coming from Sturridge and Mane.

YNWA

 

 

Cieren O’Dea for Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 09/09/2016.

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