Rafael Benitez will inspire the Reds? Marseille v Liverpool will reveal the answer
Liverpool need to win in Marseille to ensure safe passage into the last 16 of Europe's elite tournament, barring a surprise Besiktas victory in Porto.
This game has all sorts of implications for Benitez, as the owners are due to meet him prior to the United game. Rafa knows he will be untouchable, or should be, if Liverpool beat Marseille and build towards a title challenge. But he will also be aware that the fickle nature of any football fan will surface again should Liverpool fail to beat Marseille and slip against Manchester United.
After the horror show at Reading, I am sure some of the Liverpool fans are a bit down, a bit anxious, perhaps a bit worried about what awaits them on Tuesday night. Rafa has not made too many tactical blunders in Europe and I hope he doesn't make one now. I think he will pick the right team for the job.
Rafa on his change of formation:
"It is easy after the game to talk about the formation but we played the same system against Newcastle and everyone was talking about a fantastic team."
Managers always know how to put the perfect spin on things. Rafa, against Newcastle we played with wingers, we did not have Crouch and Voronin on the flanks. I wish mangers would be more honest in their analysis.
If we don't win on Tuesday, we could end up in the UEFA cup, God forbid. There are so many matches in that competition, and it will mean having to play catch up football with the rest, as matches in the league following a UEFA cup game will have to be played on a Sunday. Rafa will also probably not get any more funding in January and get embroiled in another public fight with our owners. In short it will be disastrous.
I am confident that we will make it. So what do we need to do?
Rafa, if you are reading this, please play 4-4-2: play Stevie in the middle with Javier. Have Harry on the left and Yossi on the right. Pick Torres with Crouch upfront.
If we pick these key players then I can't see us not going through. Rafa does not mess around with the defence too much, so I trust that he will pick a solid back four.
In terms of tactics, I think Liverpool should play a pressing game at a high tempo. Marseille have technically gifted players who are comfortable on the ball, if you allow them time, space and sit back like we did at Anfield then they will cause problems.
Rafa, please don't tinker too much.
I think Liverpool will win it and go through.