Liverpool travel down to the Smoke today to take on Sam Allardyce’s West Ham side at Upton Park looking to turn around an indifferent start to the new Premiership season.
A win for the Reds would potentially put them back in the top four and back in contention after their disappointing run of results. Hopefully the nail biting win in the week can kick start the season proper.
Team wise, there’s a chance Martin Skrtel could return following a week of training. If I were pressed I’d say Dejan Lovren would be my choice to sit this one out as Mamadou Sakho has just been ahead of him In terms of performance so far this season but I feel Brendan Rodgers will probably sacrifice the latter In favour of the Slovakian. That said, Sakho is not the best under pressure and Upton Park is not one for the proverbial stroll in that’s for sure.n So Skrtel could well make the difference today between three points and a big fat zero.
The midfield should stay as is due to injuries as neither Emre Can or Joe Allen are ready to return. Philippe Coutinho will be given another chance to get his season back on track as the 22 year-old Brazilian has performed below expectations of late, and partner the newly named vice-captain Jordan Henderson in the ‘engine room’. Captain Steven Gerrard will of course remain in front of the back four, and Raheem Sterling at the opposite end of the diamond supporting the attack.
I’m hoping Adam Lallana and Mario Balotelli are given the chance to continue their development upfront as Daniel Sturridge remains sidelined. Follow us on Twitter for the confirmed lineup and match updates.
So another stern test awaits Rodgers’ team and I’m looking forward to an improvement on the last few performances. The team needs to get back to the brand of football that served them so well last season, and the ‘diamond’ formation I’ve hinted at should do the trick. The showing in the week against Ludogrets was poor. Full of persistence yes, but very little invention from what I saw. And let’s not mention the defending.
Sam Allardyce spent most of the week criticising Liverpool because they saw through his attempts at gamesmanship last season. Not watering the grass, allowing it to grow long enough to inhibit the run of the ball etc. On the other hand, I don’t think Allardyce prepares for the visit of Crystal Palace or Hull in the same way so he’s obviously guilty of some kind of inverted flattery. Thanks Sam!
Elsewhere – the match of the weekend has to be Chelsea’s visit to the Etihad Stadium tomorrow to take on Manchester City. A win for City and a poor result for Aston Villa who host Arsenal at Villa Park will blow the race wide open as we head into October. Bring it on!
Me, I’m off out with the Mrs in time to get back, kick back, tune in and crack open a cold beer. Heaven on earth…
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