Friday, August 24, 2007

No Gerrard, No Problem?

Once dubbed the 'one man team' by the media due to their reliance on Steven Gerrard, Liverpool will take the opportunity tomorrow to prove that they are able to cope with the absence of Steven Gerrard with little fuss.

The skipper played in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea last week with the help of pain-killing injection and he missed out also on England's latest defeat to Germany on Thursday.

With a hairline fracture on his toe, Rafa Benitez is seemingly unwilling to risk the captain for the trip to Sunderland with the Champions League 3rd round qualifier just round the corner, on Wednesday.

The captain was instrumental in Liverpool's decent start to the new 07/08 Premiership season with one goal and one assist. His presence will be sorely missed but up against Roy Keane's Sunderland, Liverpool probably found a right time to rest the skipper.

Saturday's game will be an early kick-off and obviously it ticked Rafa off as he launched a tirade at Premier League and their supposed biasness towards the other big teams while victimising Liverpool.

After failing to land Gabriel Heinze, who then joined Real Madrid, Rafa was clearly annoyed by the case in which was given in favour of ManYoo.

With Heinze joining up with the Spanish champions, Liverpool will most likely not make any more first team signing.

Other than Gerrard, the missing players list goes on with the likes of Harry Kewell and Fabio Aurelio. Both of them missed large chunks of last season and are eager to get fit so as to cement a place in the side, which is getting more competitive each passing year.

Already, news report mentioned about Yossi Benayoun's displeasure with Rafa and his constant tinkering and squad rotation. Whether it is true or not is unclear but Yossi should very well know Rafa's management style and that it's part of his doctrine that brought success to Liverpool in the past 3 years.

Tomorrow will be a showcase of Liverpool without Gerrard and that with several choices in the central midfield area, Rafa shouldn't have much problem filling the gap with either Momo Sissoko, Javier Mascherano or even Lucas Leiva alongside Xabi Alonso.

Liverpool (from): Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Hyypia, Arbeloa, Riise, Pennant, Mascherano, Alonso, Gerrard, Benayoun, Sissoko, Voronin, Crouch, Kuyt, Torres, Babel, Itandji.

Drogballs' Prediction: Sunderland 0-2 Liverpool.

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