It was a disappointing week for Brendan Rodgers and his Liverpool team. The team was unable to progress in the Champions League after a 1-1 draw with FC Basel and that result just added to the already miserable season the squad and it’s fans have gone through this year.
However, the team has no time to bow their heads, they meet rivals, Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United on Sunday. The Red Devils are riding a five game win streak and will be more rested than Liverpool since they are not competing in the Champions League this season.
Simon Mignolet could not stop the first goal but no other goalkeeper could have. The defensive line in front of him looked tentative and unsure of how to deal with the Basel attack. A good performance against United’s fearsome attack will give him a huge boost in confidence.
Glen Johnson’s recent resurgence and greater experience makes him a better choice than Javier Manquillo for a big match such as this one. He will have to be at his best against most likely, Angel di Maria.
Another terrible performance by both Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren should see the return of Kolo Toure to the side.
Toure’s experience and confidence will serve him well against the forwards of United. Robin van Persie has been on excellent form as of late and he should be the main focus of the Liverpool defenders.
After a shaky performance by Jose Enrique in the first half against Basel, Alberto Moreno came on as a substitute and injected some speed into the lineup. While he is great at moving forward, he will have to remain responsible about his defensive duties as to not get caught far too up the field.
A strong, balanced pairing of Lucas Leiva and Jordan Henderson should be able to bother the United midfield. Lucas has the ability to prevent the United players from passing the ball well, while Henderson has the passing skills to break down the opposing defense. One concern with Lucas is that he fouls too often and he will have to keep his cool against the Red Devils so that he is not sent off.
The combination of Adam Lallana, Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling is likely to be Rodgers’ choice for the attacking midfield slots. Lallana should be rested since he did not make an appearance against Basel. The captain showed why he is a club legend through his excellent free kick that gave the Liverpool fans some hope.
Sterling was not at his best against Basel, he looked tired and nervous. The team relies so much on his pace and creativity to find scoring opportunities that van Gaal is probably going to instruct his team to limit his effectiveness.
If this does happen, other players will have to step up and create some opportunities that do not involve the young player.
The continued absence of Mario Balotelli and Daniel Sturridge along with the ineffectiveness of Fabio Borini still makes Rickie Lambert the only choice for Rodgers in the lone striker role.
Lambert looked very tired against the Swiss team and as such, was substituted off during half time. Since the match will be played on Sunday, Rodgers will be hoping that Lambert will be more rested and be more active against the United defenders.
Via – Lineup Builder