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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

come on liverpool

12/11/2007 9:06 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the reds will do it - we have exepereienec in big matches !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12/11/2007 9:07 am

Blogger SKG said...

Liverpool are a better team than Marseille so as long as they play well, they will win.

A win tonight, and I think Liverpool will beat Man Utd on Sunday. A defeat and I think Man Utd will capitalise and Liverpool's season will be over.

12/11/2007 1:01 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

Massive game for Benitez, time for Benitez to deliver....

12/11/2007 5:36 pm

Blogger SKG said...

... and benitez did deliver. a fantastic performance against marseille. liverpool are scoring for fun at the mo. roll on utd!

12/11/2007 11:48 pm

Blogger Skipper said...

I don't want to take all the credit, but Rafa must have read my article. He picked the team that I wanted, except Crouch.

Rafa, please stick to this strategy.

12/12/2007 1:10 am

Anonymous d said...

well done

12/12/2007 4:16 am

Anonymous Alam said...

Liverpool need to sell Sissoko at the january transfer window. I totally agree with skipper, he cant pass or keep the ball, he is no use to the squad, he reminds me of Djimi Traore. I think Skipper should become Rafa's new right hand man because he seems to know the wright squad to pick for a match, Rafa picked Kuyt instead of Crouch but it still turned out brilliantly good for us, great win against Marseille. Rafa really needs to select our strongest side if we are to win the league this season. To win the league you need a strong squad where any of your 11 can win a match, unfortunately we still dont have that squad but we are not far from it, and i feel we have the strongest squad since the premiership started, we just need to play our strongest 11 as much as possible. I think we can beat ManU this Sunday but we need to score early, if we dont then i will become very restless, remember last season at Anfield and the season before at Old Trafford, it was heartbreaking. Also we are still in the title race as all the big four teams have lost a game so its not too bad. I just hope Rafa picks the wright team for sunday.

12/12/2007 4:34 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

It was a good call from the Skipper, though in some aspects it may have been the expected line-up. We have had little recently from Voronin and Sissoko who featured at Reading and so they had to be replaced. Kewell comes onto the left, and anyone else for the right would mean Benayoun. Whereas Crouch and Torres didnt give us the win we wanted at Reading, meant Kuyt gets a start with Torres. Note it was Torres who started not Crouch.

Thing is, who else could have featured? Aurelio made an appearance, he could have started ahead of Kewell. And yet Benitez could have started with Gerrard on the right with Mascherano and Leiva if he felt the young Brazilian had good experience to handle a crunch game like this. All in all the Skipper called it well, yet Benitez could have arranged the team differently and still could have picked up the win, given the way Marseille were opened up.

There were the moans about Gerrard and Torres coming off, from those who failed to see the wood for the trees. People like those do it every time, thinking they really know what they are talking about. Disappointed with the loss as I was, I saw the benefit of the subs, saw why Benitez started with Hobbs after he did well for forty minutes against Bolton, and I saw nothing wrong with the line-up against Reading.

Marseille had dropped form and were picking it up before yesterday and I saw how Samir Nasri is looking an interesting up-n-coming player the way he moves on the ball, Djibril Cisse came on and went close with a header. Cisse is a fan of Marseille from young and the fans have not taken to him overall where he pleaded with them to give him time.

Yesterday was job done. It came across from the media that it was touch-and-go because of the Reading defeat. I think the feeling would be of more confidence had it been any of the other top three teams involved, though I feel any Man Utd/Arsenal/Chelsea fan would say at times it feels as if the media is against them. I wonder if the Skipper could call what Benitez should do as in the line-up for Sunday's big game.


12/12/2007 10:01 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Let me add that Gael Givet should have been dismissed for his two-footed tackle on Benayoun in the first half (led to the Riise freekick over the bar) and why he wasnt even booked was baffling considering it was worse than Stephen Ireland's tackle on Lee Young-Pyo on Sunday.

Also, though Sissoko is suffering from lack of form recently, he was a good addition in central midfield when he arrived and received MOTM on occasion. Usually good thinkers hang onto what they have with the mindset that they can still get some good use out of it, as long as they look after what they have. Same applies with Sissoko. He maybe less of what we want from him now but he could be of use much more later on.

Harry Kewell has featured well for us recently so I hope that can continue too.


12/12/2007 10:10 am

Blogger Skipper said...

Redsman, as always you provide great analysis. Watching last night’s team formation made me even more frustrated about Rafa’s tactics against Reading.

In my view, Liverpool finally have the squad to challenge for the league, so let’s no go wasting this opportunity. I can take a defeat, but I can’t take self inflicted defeat.

Alam: thanks for your message, you also raise some good points.

Liverpool were superb last night, well done to all the players and the manager.

12/12/2007 1:44 pm

Blogger T said...

"I think Skipper should become Rafa's new right hand man"

What a compliment Skipper - was that written by you incognito?!

Excellent win for the Pool. Didn't see the match but it appears a very impressive performance. Reading aside Liverpool have been in good form. They need to maintain this against Man Utd on Sunday.

12/12/2007 3:57 pm

Anonymous alam said...

What team should we play against ManU on sunday? I think it should be:
What do you think Skipper? And what will ManU have instore for us?

12/13/2007 12:29 am

Blogger Skipper said...

Alam, I would have the following:

Stevie G


I think Liverpool will beat Man U. More on this in my prediction article.

12/13/2007 2:19 pm


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