View from the Kop

Liverpool’s Europa League Selection Dilemma


7889832Rafa Benitez will be faced with a selection headache for the upcoming second leg of Liverpool’s Europa League Quarter Final tie against Benfica. Emiliano Insua was booked in the match in Portugal and is banned for the return match at Anfield, and with Fabio Aurelio still out injured with a muscle strain, Rafa Benitez really has a dilemma on his hands as to who to select in the left back position.

The natural choice would have probably been to go for Martin Kelly; after all, he demonstrated his flexibility when he made his full first team debut against Lyon in the Champions league at right back, out of position from his regular centre half position. He excelled during the match, providing excellent width going forward from the right, as well as being solid defensively. Playing at left back would probably have been not much of a stretch for him, although the fact he is right footed may have hampered his ability to be as effective going forward. Alas, Kelly is unluckily out for the season with a knee cartilage injury, nearly straight after coming back from a long term injury picked up in his full debut against Lyon.

So what are Liverpool left with? Not much to be honest with you. I have been racking my brains to think of some options and here is what I have come up with:

Daniel Agger – The Dane is left footed and could fill in the role while Sotirios Kyrgiakos takes the centre back position. It certainly wouldn’t be an ideal solution but Agger does have ability on the ball and could be useful going forward, while being assured at the back. His venomous left boot could be utilised in a similar style to John Arne Riise

Nabil El Zhar – Not very defensive but also left footed and could provide width on the left hand side in a game that Liverpool will need a goal in. It would certainly only be a solution if Rafa feels the need to be extremely positive. There is a big risk of him being caught out of the position at the back though.

Chris Mavinga – Taken from Paris St Germain in the summer, Mavinga has impressed at both centre – half and left back in the Reserves this season. He may however be too inexperienced for an important European night such as the one next Thursday against Benfica.

Certainly none of the options are ideal and it will be a tremendous headache for Rafa Benitez to pick the right on. Do you think there are any other options that Rafa should consider?

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  • Greg says:

    Steve Irwin??

  • David Hardy says:

    Could always go for three at the back as we need a goal.
    Carra, Agger and Kyrgiagos, with five in midfield (wide men needing to track back)and two up top.

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