With more than two weeks between Premier League matches following the match at Anfield this Sunday, Luis Suarez’s ineligibility to play in the Europa League would seem to ensure a start for Liverpool this weekend. A few other factors would also seem to point in the Uruguayan’s favor.
Dirk Kuyt having played 75 minutes for the Netherlands midweek after a fairly heroic performance in terms of working for the team at Stamford Bridge would leave me very surprised to find him up front leading the line alone again against a side like Wigan. Whether Dirk really can run forever may be tested should he start again, but perhaps a partner up front will help shoulder the load. Wigan are tied for bottom in headed goals this year with two, so with a bit less of a need for the extra defender we may see LFC go with two up front or a more pronounced second striker role for Suarez.
Wigan certainly haven’t performed well against the top half of the league this year either. With just one win in thirteen matches, there is certainly reason to be optimistic if you’re Liverpool. Much of the reason for this is Wigan like to get the ball down and play it. While I commend them for not shutting up shop and making a proper match of it most of the time that doesn’t necessarily always translate into success. What that shows me mostly is that there are teams worse than Wigan in the league that simply can’t play with them, but when an organized well conditioned defense is encountered they are unable to produce the goods. With the shape we’ve been showing lately, and the afore mentioned lack of an aerial assault from Wigan I would expect us to be pressing up the pitch further than ever which again leads me to believe we’ll have an extra attacker in this match.
I would expect Maxi to be the one to hit the bench for Suarez, but it’s also possible it’s a straight swap for Dirk and we get him some rest in a match where his talents probably won’t be as heavily demanded as they might be at other times. I just don’t see Wigan troubling us, as their lack of options and preferred style play right into our hands at the moment. Pressure on their back four should lead to at least a handful of misplaced balls into our midfield and possibly totally dispirited long balls by the second half if we get an early lead.
Wigan at Anfield is a perfect situation to bring a new striker into, with hopefully plenty of goals to whet his whistle for more with our most important matches of the season being essentially every single one until the end of the season. In the league anyhow that is, as I wouldn’t mind a Europa League trophy but I don’t want to be playing for one again next season.
Here’s to a hat-trick for Suarez and 15 more the rest of the way fire us into 4th.
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Yesterday we had a piece on our new first team coach’s comments that we shouldn’t be surprised to see a tactical maneuver or two even with our recent successes:
There was also a comparison to the way things went when Kenny left LFC after Hillsborough and where we will be in the summer in terms of keeping him at the helm:
What Financial Fair Play will mean for Liverpool FC in the years ahead:
Finally, a discussion of Hodgson’s parting gift to LFC supporters in the wake of his disastrous reign at the club: