As I mentioned on a previous article on Friday, I am somewhat surprised at the style that Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has adopted in his first matches in charge back at the helm. There has certainly been more attacking intent than under previous manager Roy Hodgson, but what has struck me most is that the team is currently more efficient and effective rather than incisive and threatening in the final third. The hard fought 1-0 win against Sparta Prague on Thursday night and the fact we have only conceded 1 goal in seven games, is testament to this. A lot of this can be put down to the lack of first team players playing in these games though and without the creative talent of Steven Gerrard, and the absence of Andy Carroll, perhaps the best way forward currently is to be solid rather than spectacular.
Today’s encounter against West Ham (Team-Sheet below) promises to be a more open affair than the Europa League tie on Thursday. Sparta Prague are a tough, strong outfit who commit many fouls while West Ham are somewhat softer defensively. The return of Luis Suarez to the starting line up today should give us a greater attacking edge up front than David Ngog and hopefully he can get his second goal for the club today.
In other areas of the team, goals have been lacking lately with the stand out performer Raul Meireles scoring his fair share of goals. With Dirk Kuyt’s headed winner against Sparta in mid week though, let’s hope he can now go on a run of goal scoring form to supplement the goals from Meireles in midfield. No doubt too the return of Steven Gerrard to the side will give the Reds a greater attacking edge both in terms of goal threat and chances created for others.
In regards to West Ham, they can’t seem to stop scoring at the moment. Although they went 3-0 down against West Brom in their last Premier League match, goals from Demba Ba and Carlton Cole got the Hammers back in the game for a well earned draw. They followed that result up with a 5-1 victory against Burnley in the FA Cup on Monday night with 2 more goals from Cole and a goal on his debut for German international midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger. With Scott Parker and the German in midfield, the Reds will have to be aware of the attacking threat from deep, and make sure to block Hizlsperger’s rasping long range shots. With Carlton Cole back on form too, the Reds backline must be on their guard.
With the Hammers’ leaky defence though, Liverpool should be able to carve a fair few chances out for Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan was cup tied for the match against Sparta Prague, and after having nearly 2 weeks rest since his last match, he should be well up for the game this afternoon. Match Prediction: 2-1 to Liverpool.
I would also like to invite all readers to join and play along with me during today’s match in Picklive’s Live Fantasy Football. PickLive is an ‘in play’ Fantasy Football Game, but unlike normal Fantasy games, it can be played in bite sized pieces. It’s not hard but you can do some reading up on it yourself with a DEMO, a ‘How To Play’ GUIDE, an explanation of the SCORING SYSTEM. Every reader can get a FREE TRIAL HERE and it’s a great way to enjoy the game live, and win a bit of money too! The greater amount of people playing, the bigger the prize pot so please get your friends to join in.
There are two game modes to choose from. BIG Game and Live Game. BIG Game is where you choose five players from either team for the entire 90 minutes. You get points for goals, assists, passes completed and successful tackles while you get points deducted for fouls and miss passes. The Live Game is however even more competitive as you play in a 5 minute section of the game. You pick three players and watch live as their points accumulate during the allotted period of time. If your player is hopeless, you can substitute him for another, but be mindful as you are limited to the amount you can make! It’s a great way to enjoy today’s match so come and join me. Which players would you pick in your Picklive fantasy team?
GK: Pepe Reina
RB: Martin Kelly
LB: Glen Johnson
CB: Jamie Carragher
CB: Martin Skrtel
CB: Danny Wilson
CM: Lucas Leiva
CM: Steven Gerrard
AM: Raul Meireles
ST: Dirk Kuyt
ST: Luis Suarez