Pre-Match: Arsenal vs Liverpool (2nd Nov, 17:30 GMT)

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Lucas

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Our next match is Arsenal away. This will really show where we are as a squad, and is much more indicative than playing lower table sides.

Arsenal have the best midfield in the league at this moment in time, although Arteta will be suspended for this game. It is not as easy as 'mark Oezil and you stop Arsenal', as Cazorla, Ramsey and Wilshere can all hurt you badly if you ignore them. Gerrard, Lucas and Hendo (if this trio start) will have their work cut out, and will, in all honesty, probably be dominated in midfield. However, our strikers outclass theirs, and hopefully we can win the battle at the top of the pitch. Hopefully, if we go 3 at the back, Glen and Cissokho/Enrique can act as extra men in midfield, and help to plug their quality. In my opinion the midfield battle will be the decider of this game (excuse the cliche!)

I can see it being a draw, perhaps a nice, edge of the seat 2-2, although a win would really send a message to the rest of the league.

Take it away ladies & gentlemen.
 

LFC-Orlando

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Sorry to break the news, but Arteta will serve his suspension tomorrow against Chelsea.

http://nav.thefa.com/sitecore/content/TheFA/Home/TheFA/~/link.aspx?_id=D6CA03B6740C4E78A1E74E2493E9199B&_z=z



I'll be happy with a draw. This is one of those games that if you can't win, you do everything possible to not lose and not fall behind them by 5 points.

A lot depends on the Arsenal starting 11 tomorrow. Would love a few of their main players to start. Hoping for a nice 120 minute match + PK's. Hoping that what happened to Citeh yesterday will repeat itself for us, and a draw will end up a win due to Daniel's or Luis's magic.
 

steve10

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This is the biggest game of our season so far. We should have a full squad to choose from (apart from Enrique) and Rodgers has to pick his best team for this game.
IMO Agger has to start this game. If we are playing 3-5-2 then Sakho has to be dropped.
The other question is whether Coutinhno starts and who is dropped. I don't think that Rodgers will start with Coutinhno and we will stick with Gerrard, Lucas and Hendo in midfield.
Moses should also be left on the bench.
Agger for Sakho is the only change I would make.

Flamini is injured and he is the one in midfield who has been important to Arsenal. Arteta's red card will be wiped out by the midweek cup game.
 

rupzzz

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My main question would be, if Coutinho is fit, where does he fit in? Against their midfield we need the engine of Hendo to try and win the battles in the middle.

I suspect we'll start with the same line up as against West Brom (hopefully Agger in for Skrtel) and Coutinho on the bench.
 

Zoran

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I feel Rodgers might keep the same XI and have Coutinho on the bench.

But what is interesting in the coming 2-3 weeks we'll finally see what he's got in mind at CB, if and when we go back to 4 at the back and how he sees Suarez and Sturridge in that formation when all (main) players are available (which is something we didn't see yet this season).
 

lfc.eddie

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A free scoring team with an alright defence, conceded one more than us but scored 3 more. We know where their strength is as they know ours too. Very similar setup for both team with different formation to split the two tactically. I see a rather leaky game and possibly another high scoring draw.

We have to worry about Ozil with his movement and assists, Ramsey's run from midfield and bot Wilshere and Arteta will be able to dictate the tempo, but their best is still on the break with speed.

We don't have the midfield to fight them, we should play the same team to counter their packed midfield and let's do counter attacking game for this one. No point in attempting the tempo and midfield, just get the ball to the front two closest to the Arsenal's goal as quickly as possible. That should be our game plan.

Defence will win this game, not the strikers on both side.
 

LFC-Orlando

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Lucas said:
I always thought a straight red card is a 3 match ban, no?
They changed it, so that a "professional" foul like the one he engaged in, is just 1 (unless it's overly aggressive, etc).
 

boston red

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More of the same from the West Brom game hopefully..This is biggest game up until now obviously we will got top..

Is Coutino back ? wonder who do we sacrifice if the wee magician is deemed fit..

Because we have SaS I'm confident we can beat the Premier leaders ..A feeling that is rare :p ... 3.2
 

kwala

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Whatever formation we play Gerrard, Lucas and Henderson have to start. IF, we are bringing Coutinho back in we will have to go with a front 3, and either a diamond or revert back to 433. The midfield on Saturday bossed the game, and were the platform the win was built on.
Suarez, Sturridge and Coutinho change position and inter change fluidily anyway, so where you put an x on a paper pitch is immaterial in attack, but when defending, we will need 2 of them to cover Arsenals full backs, or we will get over ran outwide.

I would expect Coutinho on the bench though, and the same again.

This is going to be a big test, 3 points would be HUGE for our season. Such a boost. If we play like we did Vs WBA, we will give them a proper examination! The midfield is going to be key to this game.
 

Colorado Red

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I think we start with the same lineup as against WBA.
Coutinho on the bench, and if we need a goal in the last 30 minutes, bring him on and sacrifice a CB to revert to a 4-3-3.
By far the biggest test of the season so far. Arsenal's midfield is damn good, will be happy if we can just neutralize them there.
Think Suarez and Sturridge could give Mertesacker a terrible time, and that's where the game can be won, if our own back 3 can avoid big mistakes.
 

lovepool

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Looking forward to seeing our front two getti g at Mertesacker if Arsenal's fullbacks go forward as they have been doing all season. The German is a good defender but you would fancy Suarez or Sturridge to beat him in a one on one.

I hope Walcott is not fit as he could get at our CBs if our wing backs push forward
 

TBFS

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Given the age, flexibility, pace, mobility and down right talent of Arsenal's Midfield, Henderson would be the first name on my team sheet. We'll need his energy and never say die attitude to gat at Arsenal and give them zero time on the ball. If (and it's a big if) Stevie, Lucas and Hendo can play 10% better than they did on Saturday, we'll boss their midfield. Big shout I know but Saturday was by far our best performance of the season with Lucas really coming back to form, Gerrard being his aged amazing self (he's younger than me and I'm flucking amazing!) and Henderson charging over every blade of grass harassing and snapping like a 20 year old Gerrard crossed with a Jack Russel.

I'd imagine the same team starting with a possible reversion to 4132 if we're losing bringing Coutinho on for a CB. Can't see him starting as we need to work hard, defend well and nick a goal with a little Suarridge magic (I've already trademarked Suarridge BTW :) )

Be under no illusion though, Arsenal on top form right now are a semi-final CL team at worst.
 

basil1492

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Same as most on here i wouldn't change the formation and even if Cou is fit i'd probably stick with the same team. Cou will make a good impact sub if we go behind and will make changing formation easier. We need to pack the midfield though which is why i can see us sticking with 352.

On Match of the day they pointed out just how high up their defenders are on an attacking corner. If they try that with our attack we can easily nick a goal. I'd be happy with a draw but with our attack there's always a good chance of us winning this. Either way i see this being a very open game.
 

Drubas

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The main reason we played well against West Brom, was that we managed to push Gerrard and Hendo further up the field, and also managed to use our left and right back to overpower West Brom in the midfield. However, against Arsenal I'm a bit afraid we might revert to old ways.

Our left and right back will be pushed back into defensive positions, and Gerrard/Hendo will end up helping Lucas to defend those dangerous areas in front of the CD:s. The key to winning will be if we manage to keep possession of the ball when we gain control of it. We have to give ourself time to rest, as well as time to move our team up the pitch into better offensive starting positions.
 

LFC-Orlando

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TBFS no they are not (a CL semi-finalist) at all. Not when they lose to Dortmund at home and have very little depth in their defense. Hansen said today that they'll finish 4th (after the 2 Manc clubs and CFC).

I hope he's wrong and we finish above one of them, but I agree with him that Citeh (when they get rolling) and CFC will finish above them and us.
 

Superior Complex

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We have the best strike force in the premiership at the moment, they lost against Dortmund and the Chelsea game will take a lot out of them.

With a possibility of 2 defeats I'm sure it will knock a bit of stuffing out of them, we seem to be quick on the counter. Villa also beat them this way, so we will see.

Also with a full weeks rest we will be sharper.

Good time to play them, so hopefully we can pull it off.
 

Red Tiger

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This will be an interesting game. We've got to win it to keep pace with the rest.

They've got a better squad that us for sure...they are top despite injuries to so many key players - Podolski, Walcott, etc.

I say go for the same team that started against West Brom, we can bring Coutinho, Moses and Alberto off the bench if required.
 

Quagmire81

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We usually play well against Arsenal, and with our current attack, I can't see why we wouldn't be able to win.
 

spizfromoz

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Yep, all three of Hendo, Gerrard and Lucas. Each works well with the other and they played well as a group vs West Brom. But arsenal have a packed schedule over the next two weeks with Chelsea, LFC, Dortmund and Man Utd. SO I hope they leave something in the tank to play in Germany the following week.
 

SirBillShankly

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Same team as last time out. We could win, SAS could well give their lanky German the runaround, however i would take a point now, think it will end 1-1.
 

Riddler

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Can't wait for this one, both teams playing excellent football this season.
Both teams quite similar in that their main strength is going forward with lots of creative talent but a few questions marks defensively. Arsenal can most certainly be got at especially on the counter attack and with our strikers looking so hot right now, we always look like we can score some goals.

Villa caused them big problems in the first game of the season at Emirates with direct, powerful and quick forwards - on the break.
I would fancy Moses to come in and play behind Suarez and Sturridge for that reason but that would mean one of Lucas, Hendo or Gerrard would be dropped - that's if we stick to same formation.

It would be a bold move to go with Moses or Coutinho in this one and drop one of our midfield trio, their work rate and pressing is immense and I feel this will be important on Saturday.

I think that's the big selection issue for BR.

Whichever he goes with, it should be a fascinating game. I don't know about all this "This is our test to see how far we are" etc, I don't agree with all that, we've played brilliantly so far this season apart from 1 or 2 games and you can't look at one game as a test for a team in the league season. The test is the league season as a whole.

I think BR will go for this one and pick Moses behind Sturridge and Suarez and we'll score some goals and win the game.

Arsenal 1 - 3 Liverpool.
 

nimitzz

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we should win this... defeating them will do a lot of good for us and send a message to the other teams...
team selection m not gonna say anything... its a headache.
 

steveee

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I kind of hope we somehow do get Coutinho in there to start this one because I'm greedy to see how great he compliments sas..

but really a more responsible manager unlike myself probably starts Coutinho on the bench and brings him on in the 2nd if we need him

either way... having selection issues is something we haven't seen in a long time. it's starting to get more difficult for myself to pick the team now that coutinho is back

I would keep hendo, Lucas, and Stevie all in there as well for this one.. you can't drop Hendo as he has played every minute of every match this season.. that would be bad to drop him for this match
 

REDSkins

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Surely it will be the same starting XI...would be out of character for Rodgers to change the team, I think.

Really excited for this one. Should be a great game...both teams seem to have weapons to exploit the other.

I'd be worried about cut-backs from wide areas, they have scored a few that way. Our back 3 will concede some space out wide. Oezil also likes to drift wide..his movement has made their team a lot harder to defend against. Packing the middle isn't enough these days, despite the fact they aren't using any real wingers.

But we do have two strikers that will find some joy. Sagna will need to be a bit more careful about bombing forward..or else one of ours might pull a Lewandowski. Suarez & Sturridge seem to me like just about the perfect pair to exploit Arsenal at the back. If our defenders can avoid ball watching then I think we have a great chance to get a result here.

If the game is tied towards the end...will either manager go for it?
 

Mascot88

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Basically, I think we'll see the same as Saturday. Rodgers won't change a side that beat a very good West Brom outfit 4-1.

Also I know the is a clamour to get Agger back in the side, and at some point he'll come in for Skrtel. But if Rodgers had any plan to play Agger against Arsenal, surely he'd have used the West Brom to get him some match time - he didn't even bring him in when the game was won.

I doubt Coutinho will start, but I expect he'll come on with 30-20mins remaining. What a weapon to have if we need a game changer.
 

ptt

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Mascot88 said:


Basically, I think we'll see the same as Saturday. Rodgers won't change a side that beat a very good West Brom outfit 4-1.

Also I know the is a clamour to get Agger back in the side, and at some point he'll come in for Skrtel. But if Rodgers had any plan to play Agger against Arsenal, surely he'd have used the West Brom to get him some match time - he didn't even bring him in when the game was won.

I doubt Coutinho will start, but I expect he'll come on with 30-20mins remaining. What a weapon to have if we need a game changer.
I'd give you 100-1 on that this is the team that starts baring injury. It's nailed on IMHO. The interesting part will be what BR does to get Cou on. I think he'll get a run out regardless of the match status for the following reasons. If we've had a battle royale in midfield as I expect, Gerrard will be frucked come 70 minutes. Lucas's fitness is still in question (although he was immense on Saturday but Arsenal are a whole different ball game) Hendo could play for a month so I'm not worried there. If it's blood and thunder, we will need midfield changes half way through the second half. Will BR risk Cou? Will he bring on Alberto and his twin brother? (giving us 12 on the pitch, still chuckling at that one). Moses has had a good stint in the squad of late, could really cause trouble in the last 1/4.

It's hard to pre-empt the tactics and subs as we don't know what's going to be the situation at 70 minutes. The temptation would be to keep the same squad (or at least the same formation) if we're winning / drawing. If we're losing though, expect subbing a CD for Cou and going 4-1-3-2 or similar. Fabulous to have Cou back on the bench, he's the capacity and abillity to operate and Suarez's level. That's a hell of a level.
 

OOTer

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OK. Here's a few scenarios I'm mulling over.

1) we start as formation vs WBrom. But instead of pressing high we sit deeper and protect our box with more men against their 4/5 dangermen; Ozil, Ramsey/Wiltshere, Carzola, Giroud, wide men. Meaning we play counter attack. With the WBs forced back and sitting deep we need to retain the ball high up if and when we counter to allow the WBs to push on and support. So does this mean we start with Coutinho? To help retain the ball in the last 3rd with his turns/runs into space and ability to find teammates with accurate weighted passes?

If so we need to score 1st. If we do Ars should leave more space behind to exploit and we can continue our counter attack play.

If we concede 1st we need to come out and play higher, meaning no more counter play but possession and Ars can then play counter to their strengths.

So V important we score 1st.

Also with that we have the possibility of Coutinho not being match fit and needed to be replaces around the 70mark. If we are winning then bringing on Hendo to help protect means squeeky bum time and less effective countering. If we are loosing then is Hendo really a game changer/defence unlocker? So
maybe alberto or Moses. The former is not really tried and tested and the later isn't his best at a AM role. So if we are loosing we may need to change formation.

So

2) We start Hendo as per vs WBrom. This means if we are winning we shouldn't need to change anything as no one should tire. So coutinho stays on bench. If we are loosing we get to bring on a tried and tested (all be it rusty?) CAM in Countinho.

3) we change to 4 at the back and have 2 deep CM. In which case I'm too tired now to know what I'm waffling about.
 

slufsar

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None of the teams have truly been tested yet, and despite the league table, I view this as the battle for top 4.

We risk going down to 6th with a poor result, while Arsenal would want to avoid a poor start to a tough period for them. A lot at stake for both clubs.

Prediction: draw and Mourinho will seize his chance to go top for the first time this season like a predator, and then gain a huge gap at the top in the period up to christmas.
 
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