Next Sunday sees Liverpool face their biggest PL foe as Man Utd visit Anfield, where the Reds will have a mission with three main objectives: the first to make up for the poor showing of the misfiring Reds in the first part of the season at Old Trafford, the second to take three points and consolidate our march to Europe, and the third to make Man Utd’s road to PL triumph that much harder to achieve (I will leave it to the reader to priorities these three motives).
Man Utd come to Anfield with Vidic suspended and Ferdinand out of action. This is the only ‘good’ news as for the rest they should have more or less a complete squad. SAF has been fielding a 4-3-3 formation more often than not and with Arsenal playing today at home to Sunderland, a victory for the Gunners would bring them to within 1 point of the Red Devils with 28 games played each. Therefore there is no doubt that he (SAF) will come to Anfield intent on getting all three points, as a draw or defeat could well see Arsenal overtake them at the top of the table. On the other hand, anything short of a win for us could see Bolton (hosting Villa at home) either climb level with us to sixth (if we draw), or even overtake us sending us down the pecking order to seventh (if we…………..no I will not say it!). Hopefully Arsenal will win against Sunderland keeping them at bay for now.
With Rooney and Nani played out wide, it is possible that Kenny will go for a more traditional 4-4-2 with Johnson and Agger guarding the flanks. It is also possible that SAF will field Chicarito Hernandez in an attempt to give our centre-backs headaches with his trickery and speed. Alternatively, he could go for experience and place Giggs on the left and Rooney as a lone centre-forward. It is almost certain, that the old Scot will spring a last minute surprise in an attempt to disrupt our game plan.
With the exception of Kelly, the Reds seem to have a healthy squad and hopefully this week has served to bring some Dalglish magic back into the players’ mentality. Kenny has been playing mild mind games by keeping Carroll’s eventual presence on ice, even though I feel that should the powerful striker be deployed, it could well be in the second half, but then the King might even spring his surprise on his old rival and field him from the start.
The formation I have selected in the illustration is what I consider could be the starting line-up, always in the event that Kenny goes for a 4-4-2 and that Carroll is brought on for a rousing welcome from the Kop in the second half, possibly in place of Maxi or Kuyt. I really don’t see our fullbacks going much more forward than the half-way line if not sporadically. Kenny will not want our back line to be exposed as Utd are nothing short of deadly on the counter.
Okay, these are my considerations on what is destined to be another epic battle in which I hope the Reds will triumph. Now it is up to you to submit comments so that we can then set up the formation you fans think is best to encounter, outplay and beat Man Utd. I ask you not to be too harsh on my judgment and to be realistic with your ideas. Fire away guys and gals!