Liverpool are in Italy tonight to take on Fiorentina in our second Champions League game of the season. We did not do too well in our first match in the Champions League but the team has run into some great form in the last couple of games and I am confident the lads can do well tonight.
Trips to Italy are never easy and we can expect a very hostile atmosphere in the stadium but it should be nothing new to the guys.
I have not watched any of Fiorentina this season as to be honest I hardly watch Italian football anymore. But I see that they do possess Alberto Gilardino and Adrian Mutu. But even with these two players we should be too strong for them.
Looking at us, we make the trip to Italy without Mascherano. He has picked up a hamstring strain and has not traveled with the team. I feel this could be a big blow to us as away games such as these are where Mascherano should be the first name on the team sheet. But hopefully he will recover from this strain in time for the Chelsea game on Sunday. I would much rather have him fit for Sunday than him playing tonight.
Yossi Benayoun is also struggling with an injury but he has made the trip with the squad. I am sure if he is not 100% fit, Rafa will not risk him and rather have him ready for Sunday.
On paper this looks like a tricky game for us but it is the kind of game we need to win so that we do not have to fight to make the knock out stages of the Champions League. I wonder what kind of a starting lineup Rafa will go with tonight? Will he have one eye on the Sunday game and thus decide to leave out some key players? I think Rafa should go with the strongest squad available and make sure we get the 3 points and then we can look ahead to Chelsea after the game.
My starting lineup prediction: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Aurelio, Riera, Gerrard, Lucas, Kuyt, Benayoun, Torres.