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Pre-Match: Cardiff v. Liverpool (22 March 15:00)

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OhYaBeauty

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Well that last one was fun, eh? On to Cardiff, now. I don't think they pose any real threat going forward, and they're unlikely to stray much from their own half, except in a rare counterattack. This is a completely different game to some of our great matches recently, like United, Southampton, Arsenal, Everton and Spurs. This is a team that won't open up much and allow us to counterattack them. We'll have to dominate possession and score goals that way.

With that being said, I'd think long and hard about the diamond. Although it allowed us to control the game against United and Southampton, I'm not entirely sure we'll really need it to do so against lowly Cardiff. We could about play a 4-4-2 and control the middle of the park. Personally, I'd revert back to the 4-3-3 that did so well up until we switched to the diamond for Saints. That allows us to play our three forwards in places where they can get through and hurt the opposition, which will be a tough ask against a parked bus. Ultimately though, Rodgers will decide and I'm not entirely sure what he'll choose.

I'd go with a 4-3-3 with pretty much all the personnel picking themselves, but for the third berth in midfield. Hendo and Gerrard are a lock, but the third slot could go to Coutinho or Allen. Allen's been playing well of late, but Coutinho offers a bit more attacking impetus and played very well in February. On the flip side, Coutinho also has a penchant for trying to do too much against parked buses and ultimately losing the ball.

Mignolet​
Johnson Skrtel Agger Flahm​
Gerrard​
Henderson Coutinho​
Sturridge Suarez Sterling​
 

LFC-Orlando

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I wonder if this is the first game in a long time to see both solid "towers" of ours....
Skrtel and Sakho to start in the middle of defense. Or, might we even see our 2 left-footed CB's together....

We must get Sakho ready for the Chelsea and Citeh clashes.....

As far as the midfield, I agree with Joe making way for Coutinho even if he ends up getting a bit frustrated.
 

mattyhurst

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Don't underestimate them they seem to have returned to a bit of form, we need to use our quick passing to break through them, also the scrappy goal maybe required as seen by Everton at the weekend.

They seem to have slightly improved in the last two games as about 3 or 4 weeks ago they looked dead and buried, expect Marshall in there goal to frustrate at times, though would be somewhat ironic if he has an absolutely dreadful display against us considering our history with performance of the decade goalkeepers in recent years.
 

lfc.eddie

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They have reached their quota of winning one game a month. They are not a team that hit the ground running, 17 of their 23 goals scores in the second half. 26 of their 52 goals conceded came at the final third of each half. Those numbers showed they lose concentration towards the end of each half, with 10 goals conceded between 31-45 minute and 76-90 minute they let in 16.

We must go out guns blazing for this one. An onslaught is a must. If all our players aiming for the holy grail, coming out guns blazing, it should be a very entertaining one. However they do win quite a few at home turf compared to their travel numbers with 5 wins at home, lost 6 and drew 4.

Teams like Cardiff playing for survival is the hardest to crack if their manager gets the motivation right. I can see the parking the bus and soak up all the pressure we throw at them. This is a game build for Coutinho playing the linkup guy in the midfield.
 

Semmy

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If Agger's eye isn't healed, I wouldn't change a thing about the squad including Allen. If he hadn't been hauled down by Vidic it could have been a good goal for him. He's earned a start.

actually, I would change Luis's cleats... ;)
 

lfc.eddie

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Semmy said:
If Agger's eye isn't healed, I wouldn't change a thing about the squad including Allen. If he hadn't been hauled down by Vidic it could have been a good goal for him. He's earned a start.

actually, I would change Luis's cleats... ;)
It was Jones to brought Allen down.
 

SupaLFC

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I don't think we should change the diamond, it allows to leave both our strikers up top and still be solid. We havent conceded with it yet and thats always a plus. I think the guys deserve another go at it. It may be around for a while. If we go 4-3-3 we may open ourselves to mismatch numbers and we cant rely on outscoring teams all the time if they get ahead. In any case i expect us to get ahead early and stay there. Same team for me, 3-1 again
 

Red83

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One change, coutinho in for sterling and at the 60 min mark when we are 3-0 up lucas in for gerrard sterling on for allen or coutinho...happy days.
 

Hope in your heart

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Cardiff are my prime favourites to go down this season, and if they do so, it will be all their owner's fault. That said, they have found back some form of solidity lately. They have had to go away to Everton and Tottenham, and lost both, but a bit unluckily, convincingly beat Fulham and drew at home with Aston Villa. The only clear defeat in that series was a 0-4 at home against Hull. Otherwise, it's all narrow defeats which could have been turned into draws.

So, assuming that we will walk over them just by going on the pitch next Saturday would be a recipe for disaster. We'll have to take them exactly as seriously as the mancs to have a chance to take anything out of this match. We simply lack the quality to display a half-arsed performance and yet take the points. That's something Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City can do, but certainly not us.

This match is exactly as much a cup final for us as the one at OT. Full concentration and dedication will see us through. Anything less than that, and we'll draw or lose, I'm absolutely convinced of that.

In that regard, I'm a bit worried about the soundbites coming out of the club. Especially Gerrard seems to fall back into his bad habits regarding how to handle the media. Why for instance state that we are title contenders now? The league table speaks for itself, but there is absolutely no need to add pressure on the team by making this kind of statement. Actions speak louder than words, and anyway, it's not as if Gerrard can speak with authority about winning league titles...

Man City and Chelsea are the title favourites, so let them deal with the pressure to go with it. As for us, the dark horse role seems to suit us well, so no need to step out into the media light for the time being.

Not that I think that Gerrard's words might jinx us. It's rather a sign for me that there might be an accident waiting to happen for us, due to a slight loss of focus from the players. The only thing which should matter for them is to train hard, focus on the next match, and then go out on the pitch and beat what is in front of them. Anything else is an unwelcome distraction.

That said, I have been expecting us to stumble long ago already, but BR and his boys have been able to keep up their focus from game to game, which has led to a much improved consistency. So, hopefully that will apply for the next game as well.

The fact that we are able to change our formation to good effect is certainly an advantage, as Cardiff won't know how we will play against them on a tactical level. That's why I'm quite confident that we can make it and take the three points from there. The only requirement to do this is 100% focus and comittment from the players (and not too many stupidly provocating statements in the media, or other off-the-pich shenanigans which would be susceptible to make the players lose their focus).

Bottom-line: if the focus is there, the difference in quality will see us through.
 

Mascot88

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I personally think strict formations are becoming less of an issue for us, and it's becoming more about player zones and movement. If a formation is anything, it's just a starting position.

That said it gives us something to talk about. The diamond, though is served us well against United and Southampton, is good for when we need to win a midfield battle. That won't be the case against Cardiff, as they will be playing deep and hoping to nick one off a set piece/break.

For this game I would be looking to flood the forward positions with as much attacking quality as possible, which means starting Suarez, Sturridge, Coutinho and Sterling together



Allen can sit this one out, and with Sunderland on Wednesday he'll get plenty of minutes. Suarez through the middle to take advantage of the fact that he can usually find a way through the most stubborn defence, and Sakho should play. It's important to get him going again.
 

rupzzz

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Great post Hope.

Always makes me anxious when we start talking about titles and talking the talk - words add pressure and that's not what we need.

But I have the belief that the group are grounded and at the same time we have the right to be confident being top league goal scorers and having some impressive wins including away wins to Spurs and United this season. Unbeaten in 2014 (in the league). We are not in a position where teams will be looking at us and thinking "yeah it's only Liverpool". We are playing the best football we've played for years and that is something we should be boasting about to a degree.

BR now had a few days to get the team re-focused, but again, Gerrard said himself that we must treat Cardfif and then Sunderland like ManU. If we want the title we must win these games.

The good thing, which gives me belief that we won't slip up, is that if one or two players have an off day we have enough talent to still do the damage. Also, BR is proving that tactically he is able to make changes to the way we're playing on a game by game basis and the players are listening and applying the tactics BR wants us to.

In terms of the starting line-up, as usual, I prefer to wait till Thursday's press conference before setting out what I'd like to see squad wise, but in general if it ain't broke don't fix it. However, the Sunderland game (at Anfield) is only 4 days after this game so we may see some changes to the line up to avoid fatigue.

I would like to see Sakho in, especially as Agger picked up that shiner. I like the rotation BR has had in place with Sterling and Coutinho and would expect Coutinho in again. Cardiff will want to sit back and batton down the hatches, which means that the counter attack and pace will not be as useful on this occasion (unless we score early and Cardiff have no choice but to chase the game). Coutinho has the eye for that pass which can unlock tight defences. Preference would be to see him in for Allen as Coutinho isn't as effective on the wing. But Allen has been playing well so we may well see Sterling dropped for the little brazillian or no changes at all.

I wonder if BR is likely to bring Lucas back in and give Henderson a rest pushing Gerrard up, or he may even rest Gerrard for the game. We should have enough quality to beat them without Gerrard. Afterall, we play Sunderland 4 days later.

Basically - I expect some changes, but expect us to approach the game proffesionally and with the same intensity as we have been so far in 2014, thus we should pick up the three points.
Lucas or Allen said:
Is this a home game or away?
Away - the title of the threads always show the home team first :)
 

DeathOrGlory

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I'd consider Suarez on the right and Sturridge through the middle.

In the united game I felt like Sturridge often found himself in the right hand side channel, and he was pretty ineffectual there. He's pretty weak on his right foot.
 

kotsebotse

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I agree with the OP about leaving the diamond, I would play Sakho and Coutinho for Agger and Allen for this game and do back to the 4-3-3 that we used before the Soton game.
 

Zoran

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Wouldn't be surprised if Rodgers kept the diamond and Sterling ahead of Coutinho for this one, but we're in a moment now when I'm confident whatever system we put out.

Watched Cardiff at Everton, they showed some little improvements over the last couple of performances (from what I've seen of those) but Marshall kept them in the game for so long with great saves.

Two or three nil for us.
 

gb1986

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This is the first time all season i've not been the slightest bit nervous going into any game
 

EdWood

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Unless Solskaer is completely incompetent, he's going to play either a 4-5-1 or a 3-5-2. If he tries anything else he's going to get ripped big time, which presents a problem for us. For the most part, our game is now based on devastating counter attack, which requires space for the SASAS to run into.

If, as is almost certain, Cardiff play deep with 10 men who's main instruction will be to deny us space in their half, BR will have to use plan B or C. Our most creative player, Coutinho, who would normally be favourite to provide an unlock pass, is out of form, and has been all season come to think of it. He's also too easily pushed around when operating in a packed midfield area. He may be usefull once the game opens up, like he was on Sunday, but until that happens, I think we'll have to rely on Stevie to find a way through. If Cardiff refuse to come out he'll be playing further forward anyway.
 

OOTer

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In keeping with verbalising my concerns in the hope they don't happen.

Their keeper IS gonna have a worldy and keep all our 15 shots on target out of the goal and they will score from a lucky deflection, either into the path of one of theirs to finish or direct from a shot.

We need to keep organised on the 2nd phase to stop a goal for them against the run of play.

I'd like to see Cou and Sterling back in. Sterling to help with the counter and Cou to pick them apart if they sit back. But Cou needs to bring his pressing game too.

I trust BR to get the tactics right, I don't trust them to not fluke a win.
 

Gobbleturkey

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I'd like to see BR try Agger and Sakho together for the first time. If it doesn't work out great, it's against Cardiff and they're going to have to be really poor and the attack suddenly vanishes for us not to get 3 points. Other than that maybe Coutinho in for Allen and give Allen the midweek game.
 

gb1986

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Kept two clean sheets in our past two games with Agger and Skrtel so i don't see why that should be changed at the minute.

Not the time for experimenting in my opinion, better to reward players for good performances and keep up the momentum.
 

RedSouthIndian

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EdWood said:
Unless Solskaer is completely incompetent, he's going to play either a 4-5-1 or a 3-5-2. If he tries anything else he's going to get ripped big time, which presents a problem for us. For the most part, our game is now based on devastating counter attack, which requires space for the SASAS to run into.

If, as is almost certain, Cardiff play deep with 10 men who's main instruction will be to deny us space in their half, BR will have to use plan B or C. Our most creative player, Coutinho, who would normally be favourite to provide an unlock pass, is out of form, and has been all season come to think of it. He's also too easily pushed around when operating in a packed midfield area. He may be usefull once the game opens up, like he was on Sunday, but until that happens, I think we'll have to rely on Stevie to find a way through. If Cardiff refuse to come out he'll be playing further forward anyway.
But aren't Cardiff in the relegation zone? Won't they be worried about not picking up points?
 

Arminius

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RedSouthIndian said:
But aren't Cardiff in the relegation zone? Won't they be worried about not picking up points?
They would likely be thrilled to come away with a single point from this fixture, so EdWood's views are fairly likely on that score. The one thing I wonder about is that I have not seen them play a compact defensive game at home under Solskjaer. Against Fulham at home, they did play a 4-5-1, but it was a high press. Against Hull at home, they tried to play his possession style, the fact that Hull put four past them pretty much rules that out. Most likely is something similar to away at Everton, where they had 3 centrebacks for part of the game (did not work imo, and they switched away from it) and let Everton have the ball for about three quarters of the field. May not make the home fans happy, I can see them getting frustrated - Everton was pushing 70% possession.
 

jimbo

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i just feel that Cardiff will be mega scared. We need to keep that dirty manc Zaha quiet though should have had a penalty against Everton. I think we will demolish them, simply because the confidence in the camp is sky high and we now believe we can beat teams. We have had great managers but this guy Bredon makes us believe! massive difference
 

basil1492

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Totally agree with Mascots team, not sure whether i'd have Glen or Flanno on the left where they have Zaha who seems to be their main danger man. 433 is the better option here though whether they play 4 or 5 at the back. Hopefully Flanno if he plays left can nullify Rafaels brother who isn't of quite the same standard. I really can't see them worrying us too much as a goal threat but breaking them down could be hard, especially if they play the 5 at the back.

Unfortunately the above team does leave Allen out and i'm 50/50 about Sakho/Agger. In one way i'd hate to drop Agger (or Skrtel) after such a good performance but Sakho needs some game time especially if he may be needed for the bigger games starting with Spurs.

@Hope I don't think SG saying we can win the league will cause problems, just about every player knows we're in with a shout and unless they're all superstitious i don't see it affecting anything. The whole team seems to be playing with a free flowing confidence lately, none have shown strain or any sense of pressure. In fact saying it now is better than if we win the next 2 and being asked the question again if/when we're 1 point behind Chelsea and just before our Spurs game.
 

LFC7NH

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basil1492 said:
Totally agree with Mascots team, not sure whether i'd have Glen or Flanno on the left where they have Zaha who seems to be their main danger man. 433 is the better option here though whether they play 4 or 5 at the back. Hopefully Flanno if he plays left can nullify Rafaels brother who isn't of quite the same standard. I really can't see them worrying us too much as a goal threat but breaking them down could be hard, especially if they play the 5 at the back.

Unfortunately the above team does leave Allen out and i'm 50/50 about Sakho/Agger. In one way i'd hate to drop Agger (or Skrtel) after such a good performance but Sakho needs some game time especially if he may be needed for the bigger games starting with Spurs.

@Hope I don't think SG saying we can win the league will cause problems, just about every player knows we're in with a shout and unless they're all superstitious i don't see it affecting anything. The whole team seems to be playing with a free flowing confidence lately, none have shown strain or any sense of pressure. In fact saying it now is better than if we win the next 2 and being asked the question again if/when we're 1 point behind Chelsea and just before our Spurs game.
Put Flanno up against Zaha then if he's considered a "danger" man imo. Let Johnson have more freedom to attack. Not concerned with Flanno up against a manc loaner tbh. If he's not manc first team quality... enough said lol
 

starshadow

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I actually see this as a tougher test than United,

The Mancs are a known quantity, an awful team expected to play like they are still a big side by the players, fans and the media. I thought it would be a breeze and am slightly disappointed with the lack of goals. Could have been 5 or 6.

I can't believe i've just typed the above and yet its reality... great time to be a Liverpool fan, anyway..

Cardiff are in a dogfight to avoid the drop and will put 10 men behind the ball, No one expects them to win and they'll play like it.

Its these kind of matches that cost us the title in 2008/2009, This is a true test.

Its a lot easier to destroy a useless team opening up to play than beat a useless team closing down everything and going into their shell.

We have to be optimistic, be arrogant and play like champions elect.
 

Mascot88

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basil1492 said:
@Hope I don't think SG saying we can win the league will cause problems, just about every player knows we're in with a shout and unless they're all superstitious i don't see it affecting anything.
At the minute, sitting in second place and entering the home straight, it would be ridiculous to say anything else. It's self evident that we can win the league.
 

Speckydodge

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BrennansRed said:
True, but we are turning them to wins as of late so i am confident we have the bottle for this one once again. Not arrogant, mind ;)

PS: Cant focking wait to see Bellamy back at Anfield!
Games in Cardiff mate
 

Riddler

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I think Rodgers prefers to play Allen when playing the diamond. And having won the last 2 away games 3-0 I reckon he'll stick with Allen and the diamond.
Which will mean either Coutinho or Sterling at the tip of that. That's the only possible change I can see.
Either way, the team is playing so well at the moment I fancy our chances vs Cardiff.
 
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