Liverpool preview

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On the face of it we couldn’t have picked a better time to be playing Liverpool. They’re struggling to score, have lost 3 on the bounce away from home and seem on the verge of bottling their best chance in years to make a statement at the expense of Man United and Arsenal. For my sins I’ve got a few Liverpool supporting mates and every one of them has responded to our lack of strikers with “well we might as well have none as well”. That’s the face of it, but going off how our season has gone up until now, expect us to get shoed all over the pitch.

Talk in the lead up to the game has all been about the chances of Henri Camera being back in the country and what part he could play in the game. Last word was that the Senegal squad would be in Paris on Thursday night and the club had flights booked to whisk him back to Wigan. That said Jewell has said that he’ll not do anything to disrupt the player’s international chances and there are stories of some kind of reception back in Senegal. It’s fingers crossed that he’ll be back, but doubtful that he’ll be ready for 90 minutes.

Elsewhere we know that none of our other forwards are available, Skoko has gone off to Stoke and Thome has left the building. None of the long term injuries are back and Baines is a doubt. Let’s not make any bones over this, the game at Anfield was more than enough to show us that we’re not in the same league as Liverpool and, regardless of who is available to start this one, it would take a mammoth effort to get anything out of this game.

Our biggest hope lies in the possibility that Liverpool’s captain, motivator, engine room and top scorer; Steven Gerrard is a doubt for the game. Not that there’s no quality to replace him, but it does give us a chance to get into them and knock them out of their stride early on. Think Highbury in the League Cup semi, but for a little bit longer than the first 5 minutes. Even better would be an early goal, but you really have to wonder where it’s going to come from.

For the sake of dragging this out for a few more lines, it’s time for the ill advised prediction. A lot depends on where Scharner plays, De Zeuuw and Henchoz might be a bit too flat footed to cope with what Liverpool have to throw at us, and it would be nice to see the Austrian in the back four. That little bit of mobility may be enough to see us through to the draw.

Otherwise I can see us struggling manfully to defeat, think the opening day clash with Chelsea and you’ll be close. Our best chance of winning is if the European Champions remember how easy it was at their place in December and take their foot off the peddle. No one has underestimated us for a month or two; given that we’ve got Spurs and Manchester Utd next it would be nice to see that happening again.

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