Saturday, February 24, 2007

From Barca To Blades

Liverpool will return to Anfield for their first home game under new owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks as they prepare to take on a revitalised Sheffield United.

The Reds started the week on a highest note possible with an excellent 2-1 win over Barcelona at the Nou Camp and now, they have to show their consistency by beating the Blades.

Liverpool have gone on a 2 game winless streak in the Premiership after being held 0-0 by small club, Everton and then lost 2-1 to Newcastle at St. James' Park.

But they managed a result that deemed impossible in many people's eyes and Rafa will hope that they can build on that win. It's also important to get all 3 points for this game because the upcoming games for Liverpool will certainly be tough.

They will host league leaders, Man United next and then it's the second leg of the UEFA Champions League last 16.

But it's time to focus our eyes on this game rather than looking too far forward. Because although Sheffield United are in no ways a club in the same echelon as Liverpool, but some teams showed that with hard work and resilience, it's possible to frustrate the hell out of the Reds.

The opening day showing at Bremall Lane was abysmal and it sort of sum up the early form of Liverpool. A fortunate tumble by Gerrard and the generosity of the match referee rescued Liverpool from embarrassment but we can be sure that Rafa will not want his team to put up another performance of that calibre.

Javier Mascherano could be in for a home debut as Rafa looked set to chop and change once again after the mid-week heroics and will not hesitate to replace tired legs. Momo Sissoko suffered a knock to his shin at the Nou Camp and could be replaced by the Argentinian that is revered by none other than Benitez himself.

Crouch could make a start as Kuyt's stamina might be drained on Thursday. His preferred partner would be Bellamy, who showed character to defy the odds and put up an amazing performance.

Expected team:


Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Arbeloa;

Pennant, Gerrard, Mascherano, Riise;

Crouch, Bellamy;

Drogballs' Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Sheffield United. I expect a tough game given that the Blades have been pretty good so far and the team that everyone deemed as relegation fodders are doing decently in recent times and they have a tendency to frustrate Liverpool with their physical game and also, discipline in defence.

Neil Warnock's side will surely go on a 'park the bus' tactic to hold out Liverpool like Everton did but I feel that the home team's morale is on a high and will have the necessary quality to break down a resilient Sheffield Utd.

No comments: