The absence of Raul Meireles from pre-season has only added to speculation over the Portuguese star’s future. It has been explained by the club that Raul has been sidelined with a foot injury, but with the arrivals of Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson, it has raised the question as to where he features in Kenny Dalglish’s plans.

With Liverpool more or less playing the same 4-2-3-1 formation in recent pre-season matches, I think it would be safe to assume that the Reds will line up in the same system against Sunderland on Saturday. Against Valencia, Jordan Henderson played on the right, Downing on the left, Lucas and Adam in the holding midfield positions and Aquilani in the advanced attacking midfield position.

In my opinion, Adam and Lucas will start as first choice holding midfield players in the game against the Black Cats, while Downing will almost definitely start from the left hand side. This leaves two slightly less certain starters in the midfield area.

Although I know Henderson can play on the right hand side, I don’t think he will be Kenny’s first choice on the right. The Reds both have Luis Suarez and Dirk Kuyt to fill the role if King Kenny persists with the same formation. With Suarez probably not being fit to start the Sunderland match, Dalglish may look at other candidates such as Maxi Rodriguez and perhaps Raul himself.

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