Pre-Match: Hull City (a) Sunday 1st Dec, 14:05 GMT

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Lucas

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After a Merseyside Derby which will undoubtedly go down as one of the greats, it's time to look forward to our next fixture: Hull away.​
This fixture signals the start of a very hectic period of games, as December normally is, so we will be hoping more than ever to avoid any serious injuries. Hull enter this game placed 13th in the table - a very respectable position for newcomers, despite suffering back to back defeats in the league. However, in 3 of Hull's last 4 games in the league, the points have been decided by a single goal, and Hull have one of the best home defensive records in the league, only shipping 2 goals at home all season.​
Having said that, Liverpool are scoring for fun at the moment, and, by the looks of things, conceding goals for fun too. In fact, with us lying second in the table after a third of the season, fun seems commonplace on Merseyside at the moment. Hopefully Sturridge will be fit to play, and received some criticism from Rodgers after the derby for putting himself on the line for a meaningless England friendly. Suarez, too, looks like he'll be playing, after suffering a pretty horrific tackle from Mirallas (which was a red all day long!). With Coutinho looking as impressive as ever, the build-up play between the front 3 is scintillating, and should hopefully be enough to break down what has been a tough Hull defence to breach.​
As for formations, Enrique will be out for around 10 weeks after undergoing an operation on his knee, and Cissokho has also been suffering from niggling injuries and lack of form. After impressing highly against Everton, Flanagan deserves to remain in the team. I'd also keep Skrtel and Agger in defence, as Hull don't pose much of an attacking threat, and the ball playing skills of Agger will be handy here, when he steps out of defence and carries the ball, creating room for others in midfield and up front. Sadly, after dropping a bit of a clanger last game, Allen will probably be back on the bench, and I fear what this is all doing to his confidence, as he very much seems, like Henderson, to be a confidence player. Lucas put in a good shift last game too, making numerous track-back tackles and covering others (although I'm sure this will be debated!). Gerrard, here, will be a key player, as he usually gets time on the ball against 'lesser' sides*, and his distribution will be an important tool in breaking Hull down. As such, I would play 4-2-2-2, and this would be my setup:​


Over to you, folks!

*Disclaimer: Write teams off as 'lesser' at your own peril.
 

rupzzz

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Just a quick reply at the moment, but I like the line up posted in the opening post of this thread, however would like to see Sakho and Toure get a game.
 

DeathOrGlory

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Just a tiny note, we won't be wearing the Christmas sweaters for this game. It'll be the home kit.

I agree with the side in the OP, otherwise.

Hull are bottom of the form table. They've only lost 1 in their last 6 home games though, drawing 2 and winning the other 3 (all 1-0 against other small sides). They might be on a bit of a downer though, having lost to Southampton and relegation candidates Crystal Palace recently.
 

Redaido

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I'm glad we get an extra days rest to recover after a frantic derby match. I have an inkling Rogers will see the Hull game to put some squad rotation into action. Don't be surprised to see Henderson come into the middle Alberto playing out wide right and Gerard rested due to the fact he's not 100% fit and has played a lot of games recently.

I'd also expect Sakho to come in place of Martin S.

My prediction for this one is 2-0. Hit them hard early and get the goal then sit back and try counter with SAS, easier said than done !
 

Bleeding Red

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We have to win the next three games starting with this one, before we have that ridiculous run of fixtures over Christmas. Anything less than 9pts out of 9 is not optional.

That said, a bit of squad rotation in the run up to Christmas wouldn't go amiss. Gerrard and Lucas are definitely in need of a breather, especially Gerrard, who's been carrying a knock. You could argue the same for Henderson, but the tiredness bug doesn't seem to apply to him. He looks like he could play 7 days straight and have some left in the tank. Same applies to Suarez. Sturridge could also do with a bit of rotation as well, given the knock he's been carrying. So those three ought to be in and out of the team for the next three games. Obviously it will give Allen, Moses, Sterling and the like a chance as well. We should still have enough to beat Hull, Norwich etc, although in this season of ups and downs we can't be taking too many liberties with our starting 11.

Mignolet
Johnson Skyrtl Agger Flanagan
Lucas/Gerrard Allen
Henderson Coutinho Moses/Sterling
Suarez

Subs: Gerrard/Lucas, Toure, Sakho, Cissokho, Sterling/Moses, Sturridge, Jones

So yeah, would leave one of Gerrard or Lucas out, and whoever misses this one, the other can next time out against Norwich. Sturridge can sit this one out as well, to get over his injury, and Allen can have a chance to immediately redeem himself after last weeks horror miss. Flanagan fully deserves to keep his place ahead of Cissokho as well, while I do hope that Sterling gets some game time in the next few weeks. I'd think about taking Agger out and putting Sakho or Toure in as well, but he is the Vice-Captain, and will probably be needed especially if Gerrard doesn't play. That aforementioned two will hopefully get some game time as well.
 

SoueysTash

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I want Skrtel out and Sakho in - desperate to see him and DAgger play together.

Will be a tough game but our quality should win out - we know how to kick the shit out of the minnows of the league and I fully expect us to take them down after a tough 60 mins or so.
 

Bobbinho

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Good opening post.

I'd like to see wholesale changes to our back line tbh, as someone mentioned above, Hull won't be carrying a large threat up front so i think this is the game to perhaps play Toure & Sakho as CB's, Sakho can play a bit, so can Toure both players could help hold a high line....enabling our midfield & attack to get at Hull.

& talking of midfield, i think someone needs to be dropped/rested, Gerrard will continue to get my support whilst his impact on the game is such a positive one in terms of assist's, if he's fit enough he should play & he'll get a good week to rest up a bit anyway, its either Lucas or Allen who should make way in my opinion, Hendo will be fine, i'd give Allen another chance at redeeming himself, he's got it in him to perform well as seen in the INTL's for Wales, & you can guarantee that he'll be keen to make amends for that miss...

I'd start Moses on the right too, we will need more attacking outlets to break this lot down, only conceding 2 goals at home so far this season is a pretty decent stat.....Flannagan gets my vote to play again, but really not sure about Glen, i'd be tempted to give Cissokho another run out, play Flannagan on the right instead....? It's more his position anyway & Cissokho should be alright against Hull (i hope..) would at least give us a little bit more going forward...

Anyway, as always BR will have a few big calls to make as to who to play, so important that we take all three points in this game, we must cut out some of those error's at the back from set pieces....& we definitely need to be more clinical when presented with gift wrapped opportunities to score....

Might only be against Hull but this is a big fixture for us, must improve our area's of weakness if we want to remain up there in the table.
 

No Men in the Box Redux

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Agger and Skrtel deserve to be dropped after last game. We don't have anything to worry about with Hull's forwards. They have struggled to score goals since the beginning of the season. It is a good time to blood Sakho in more. Johnson was horrific last game. He is more switched on defensively on the left. Compensates for Flanagan's weaker foot too even though he was impressive last match. Might be able to contribute more with crosses on his natural right side though.

Time to test the 4-4-2 diamond//4-1-2-1-2. We can't keep foregoing the midfield battle. In my opinion, 4-4-2 diamond is the way forward as long as we have fullbacks that can contribute frequently.



One last consideration. I may even drop Henderson for Allen in the midfield. Bold move probably. But Allen needs confidence desperately. No better time for the occasion than against Hull. And Henderson could use a rest to be honest. Aside from his constant running and pressing, he has offered goals and assists only very sporadically. I would like to see what Allen can offer. Give him a proper run of games and he might be of more use to us during the difficult Christmas period.
 

Zoran

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I think if you play the diamond then you need quality coming from the full backs. Glen on the left is okay and he can do a job but it's still a lot different to what he does on the right and Flanagan regardless if he's playing right or left he doesn't offer much offensively.

I don't think it's the formation, but simply the basic stuff (still the problems of old like defending set-pieces) and we're still playing quite deep, Everton were a dangerous side but I was a bit disappointed at the start of the game how much respect we gave them, the midfielders were left with very few options on the ball which just didn't work against a well organized and motivated side that pressed well in numbers. We didn't create a single chance from open play in the first half and overall looked uncomfortable in possession, not able to keep it or give the team a breather. This is what we have to do until Christmas, bring the Liverpool of last season back more and start controlling games more, get in the situation where some other players can get on the scoresheet and lift their confidence, bring people back to life. We have these winnable games coming up, we need points but start playing football again before it's too late because a poor run of results will be just around the corner. I hope Rodgers doesn't get too comfortable with this "we'll fight (to use a Waterloo term) 'sitting on our arses' and just rely on Suarez & Sturridge to score". It will not work for the whole season.

So I'd more or less keep the same side (don't expect much from Flanno if he's at LB and Coutinho in front of him needs support so we'll see how we do against opponents that we need to break down), but I'm hoping that we push it out of Mignolet's area more and hopefully we can win these next few games and hit some form.
 

No Men in the Box Redux

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I totally agree that the 4-4-2 diamond is very reliant on the quality of the attacking play brought by the fullbacks. As we saw earlier this season, when Glen was out and Enrique was not at full fitness, we looked very toothless at times. Even with Suarez on the field. I think the problem is far lesser now that Glen is back. I am quite confident with him on the left side as he is so two-footed. If anything, he should be able to shoot more on his more natural right as well as go down the touchline and cross with his left. Flanno on the right hand side should be alright. He's proven in the last two games that his passing has improved and that he can contribute occasionally whilst going forward. I think at such a young age, he doesn't suffer from indecision when he gets to good attacking areas. He just looks for the goalscorers and puts it in the box. And that's good enough for me. I would rather he pass the buck on to the more talented players than dilly-dally around with the ball too much like Cissokho and Enrique have both been guilty of. It's primarily defensively that we should be worrying about him. Lapses of concentration, getting caught out, etc.

Anyways, if you look at the opposition for the next three games, we really have nothing to worry about in terms of defending. West Ham and Hull have struggled badly in front of goal. As well as Norwich. I want to see us return to a more possession based style of football and genuinely try to outclass the opponents in the midfield before we try to outscore them which I feel like has been our tactic more or less this season. Just try to score a goal, drop deep and defend for our lives, wait for the inevitable equalizer and then restart the entire process and rely on the quality of Suarez and Sturridge to score again and hope that the whistle blows at the right time. I would like to see us work on exercising more control of the game which is why I'm recommending 4-4-2 diamond and even starting Joe Allen perhaps.
 

mattyhurst

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I want Sakho or Toure to play after the issues we saw at the back against Everton we need some composure, Toure brings you that while Sakho is a monster.
 

SirBillShankly

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mattyhurst said:
I want Sakho or Toure to play after the issues we saw at the back against Everton we need some composure, Toure brings you that while Sakho is a monster.
Are you saying that DAgger doesn't?
 

No Men in the Box Redux

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I think in terms of leadership and experience, Toure easily wins out over Agger. The Everton game was a great example of how Agger and Skrtel don't communicate enough despite how often they've played together. There was too many times where simple communication could have cut out passes before they got dangerous yet they failed to do that. Toure is also pacier and better in the air than Agger. Maybe it is just a temporary drop in form, but I believe Toure offers everything Agger can right now and then some. Perhaps Agger is better at bringing the ball out of defense and is a better passer but in terms of everything else defensive, I believe Toure is the better option.
 

WellRedKev

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Danny Agger is a fans favourite, no better defender on the ball but the last 18 months he has been suspect defending crosses and free kicks. He needs top toughen up a bit in that regard. Its really hard to know what's going to happen because you don't spend 17m on a defender and make him sit on the bench. Maybe the Sahko / Agger partnership is what Rodgers see's as the future. If that's the case get it done now and let it blossom. Some doubts (from fans) that two lefties can operate effectively in defense so it will be interesting to see what the central defence plan is. We need to get it right for the games against Chelsea, City, Spurs in December.

Its a testament to Mignolet that his form is top class with all the chopping and changing in front of him.

Will comment further on Hull game later in the week. Would like to see Allen get a chance to redeem himself.
 

Canuck33

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No Men in the Box Redux said:
Agger and Skrtel deserve to be dropped after last game. We don't have anything to worry about with Hull's forwards. They have struggled to score goals since the beginning of the season. It is a good time to blood Sakho in more. Johnson was horrific last game. He is more switched on defensively on the left. Compensates for Flanagan's weaker foot too even though he was impressive last match. Might be able to contribute more with crosses on his natural right side though.

Time to test the 4-4-2 diamond//4-1-2-1-2. We can't keep foregoing the midfield battle. In my opinion, 4-4-2 diamond is the way forward as long as we have fullbacks that can contribute frequently.


One last consideration. I may even drop Henderson for Allen in the midfield. Bold move probably. But Allen needs confidence desperately. No better time for the occasion than against Hull. And Henderson could use a rest to be honest. Aside from his constant running and pressing, he has offered goals and assists only very sporadically. I would like to see what Allen can offer. Give him a proper run of games and he might be of more use to us during the difficult Christmas period.
Great call. Allen back in to give him a recovery from that miss. I'd sit Johnson out though in favour of Kelly, with Flanagan back on the left. The rest is spot on.
 

spizfromoz

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It worries me that we only have Gerrard to play the 'Gerrard balls' around the park. At some point he will need to be rotated to keep him fresh for some important games. For me the attack seems to require him to distribute and switch the game around so Suarez, Sturridge and Coutinho have space to attack. We don't use width very and can look frustrated. If Allen plays in his place, I'd like to see Lucas play more attacking balls and see if he has a little more vision for it. The two may play a little more tactically than Gerrard and Lucas together.
 

NZred

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I would like to see Coutinho moved into the middle. He doesn't get anywhere near enough touches playing out wide. He should be the fulcrum of all attacks. Everything should go through him.

I expect a right pantsing this weekend.
 

Canuck33

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NZred said:
I would like to see Coutinho moved into the middle. He doesn't get anywhere near enough touches playing out wide. He should be the fulcrum of all attacks. Everything should go through him.

I expect a right pantsing this weekend.
Coutinho needs to play in the middle, there is no doubt about it. So with SAS up front it seems to be that we need to play a 4-4-2 diamond or a 3-4-1-2. I'd prefer the former, although our playing staff might dictate the latter.
 

ekong

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SAS up top, supported by Coutinho. Our regular 3 midfielders controlling and winning the ball. Toure slotting in RB and Johnson to the left.

Mignolet
Toure Skrtel Sakho Johnson
Lucas Gerrard Henderson
Coutinho
Suarez Sturridge
 

slufsar

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Hull are poor, but not as poor as Palace, Fulham and Sunderland. So I wouldnt expect us to bulldoze them. Although Villa are better, I wouldnt be surprised if this turned out to be a similar game to the away game to Villa.

I've heard LIvermore and Huddlestone has been good for them, so thats something to worry about if we let them control the midfield
 

LeoT

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SoueysTash said:
I want Skrtel out and Sakho in - desperate to see him and DAgger play together.

Will be a tough game but our quality should win out - we know how to kick the shit out of the minnows of the league and I fully expect us to take them down after a tough 60 mins or so.
They are both left side Central defenders so i doubt they will play together.
I have never seen Agger play on the right of a partnership, and Sakho has always played as the left partner when he's played for us.

It would make more sense to have (Sakho or Agger) next to (Toure or Skrtel).

When we have games once per week, we really should play our strongest 11, its when we have 2 games per week that we need to take the odd risk of "giving a player a game".

The only thing that resembles an 'advantage' of not playing in Europe this season is having our best players fresh for most games, we should not give away that advantage easily.
 

norwegian wood

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mattyhurst said:
I want Sakho or Toure to play after the issues we saw at the back against Everton we need some composure, Toure brings you that while Sakho is a monster.
I wanted those two in for the derby, but I understand it's a risky decision to use a new centre back pairing for a game like that instead of going for the tried and relatively trusted.

Toure is simply a better player and defender than Skrtel for me, and I'd pick Kolo any day. Then there's Agger v Sakho for the other spot, which is a luxury 'problem'. I think our defence looked very strong at the start of the season when Toure and Agger played. Then again, I like what I've seen from Sakho so far, and I think he could form a great partnership with Toure. I'd feel much more comfortable about us defending set pieces with those two in there.

As for the rest of the team, I'd go with the same full back pairing. I think we perhaps need three midfielders to prevent Huddlestone from controlling the game, but I'm not sure how I'd set it up. Then there's the question of whether Sturridge is ready to start or if he should be benched again. If he's ready I'd possibly go 4-4-2 with Henderson and Coutinho on the flanks, having Henderson as the tucked in third midfielder. If no Sturridge then I'd go with same shape as against Everton, with pretty much the same players. Maybe Henderson in the middle instead of Allen, with Moses on the right.
 
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Although Flanagan did really well against Everton I'm wondering whether it might be good to go with 3 at the back again with Hendo/Glen as wing backs? It's unlikely to happen but I'd be happy seeing something like this:

Mignolet​
Toure Sakho Agger​
Hendo Gerrard Lucas Johnson​
Coutinho​
Suarez Sturridge​
 

Rooster

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I was really hoping Sakho would play last week so get him in this week with Toure.

The other names that must start are Allen and flanno. I thought I may have been alone calling for Allen but the posts above suggest otherwise. He was OK until that miss and BR should be providing confidence. And as for flanno well he demands to be picked again.

Time for Stevie to be benched and added if needed later on. After all we have a few games coming up.

The table was heading towards predictability until the perfect Cardiff moment. One or both of manure/spuds must drop more points, therefore it is in our hands to take advantage.
 

rab

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4-3-3 because that's the formation the squad was built with a view to playing.

I'm not sure I'd change both centre backs for this game but they will no doubt target set pieces with Brady's delivery. One of Toure or Sakho needs to come in. I'd question why we spent that much money on Sakho if we're not going to play him. Surely his aerial ability is one of the main attributes we bought him for. We didn't play him against Lukaku who we know has the beating of Agger and Skrtel so if we're not going to play him after conceding 2 goals at set pieces last week then when are we going to play him?

Keep Johnson and Flanagan. After his performance against Everton Flanagan deserves another game. Johnson shouldn't be too stretched against Hull and we'll need the width and attacking instinct he offers.

Lucas, Gerrard and Henderson in the centre of midfield. Still don't think that trio has to right balance of attributes but with Allen low on confidence and Alberto not in consideration then it's about the best we have. It's one of those games where if we can get a comfy position by 60 minutes we could manage Gerrard's game time.

Up top a front three of Coutinho, Sturridge and Suarez. They don't have to play super wide so the outside players have license to drift in with Henderson, Gerrard and the full backs offering width outside of them going forward. If Sturridge still isn't fully fit then Moses can start with Suarez in the most central role.

Hull are no slouches but they also shouldn't cause us too many problems. Get in to them early, press high and fast and dominate the ball and we should be comfortable. Some players need to be made aware though that repeat performances from the weekend will not be tolerated.
 

LeoT

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rab said:
4-3-3 because that's the formation the squad was built with a view to playing.

I'm not sure I'd change both centre backs for this game but they will no doubt target set pieces with Brady's delivery. One of Toure or Sakho needs to come in. I'd question why we spent that much money on Sakho if we're not going to play him. Surely his aerial ability is one of the main attributes we bought him for. We didn't play him against Lukaku who we know has the beating of Agger and Skrtel so if we're not going to play him after conceding 2 goals at set pieces last week then when are we going to play him?

Keep Johnson and Flanagan. After his performance against Everton Flanagan deserves another game. Johnson shouldn't be too stretched against Hull and we'll need the width and attacking instinct he offers.

Lucas, Gerrard and Henderson in the centre of midfield. Still don't think that trio has to right balance of attributes but with Allen low on confidence and Alberto not in consideration then it's about the best we have. It's one of those games where if we can get a comfy position by 60 minutes we could manage Gerrard's game time.

Up top a front three of Coutinho, Sturridge and Suarez. They don't have to play super wide so the outside players have license to drift in with Henderson, Gerrard and the full backs offering width outside of them going forward. If Sturridge still isn't fully fit then Moses can start with Suarez in the most central role.

Hull are no slouches but they also shouldn't cause us too many problems. Get in to them early, press high and fast and dominate the ball and we should be comfortable. Some players need to be made aware though that repeat performances from the weekend will not be tolerated.
I know we sometimes like to big-up new players, however I'm not overly impressed with Sakho yet, so I wouldn't pick him over Agger.

Sakho gives us strength at the back, this is usefull in set pieces, however Agger seems to be better positionally.
I think if we had played Sakho in the Everton match we may not have conceeded from the set pieces, however we may have conceeded the odd goal or two from open play.

In this game I'd probably go with Toure (or Skrtel) next to Agger.
 

rab

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LeoT said:
I know we sometimes like to big-up new players, however I'm not overly impressed with Sakho yet, so I wouldn't pick him over Agger.

Sakho gives us strength at the back, this is usefull in set pieces, however Agger seems to be better positionally.
I think if we had played Sakho in the Everton match we may not have conceeded from the set pieces, however we may have conceeded the odd goal or two from open play.

In this game I'd probably go with Toure (or Skrtel) next to Agger.
I think if you discounted Sakho's first game then he's been as good as any of our other three centre backs this year. Unfortunately all four have had a mixed time of things in various games.

What I really want Rodgers to do is find our first choice pairing. The two players who can forge a solid and consistent partnership that will develop and grow as a unit through the season. At the moment with the switching between 3 and four at the back, injuries and the addition of Sakho after the season has started we've yet to find that.

The Everton game in isolation highlights a bigger issue for us. We simply can not defend set pieces that well. I'd suggest this is partly down to coaching and how we set up for opposition corners and freekicks and partly down to personnel. Neither Agger nor Skrtel is your Sami Hyypia type who dominates the area on set pieces. Sakho and Toure are closer to that type of player. If we can't make an immediate improvement on the coaching and set up then we need to play our best players best suited to countering the issue we are struggling with. Neither Toure or Sakho are slouches when it comes to the other defensive areas or duties either. And both are quicker too allowing us to play a higher line and get the midfield closer to the forwards.

It's just an opinion of course but I don't think Sakho and Toure have been used as a pairing in the centre of a four man defence yet. It could well just be our best unit.
 

SoueysTash

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rab said:
The Everton game in isolation highlights a bigger issue for us. We simply can not defend set pieces that well. I'd suggest this is partly down to coaching and how we set up for opposition corners and freekicks and partly down to personnel.
According to the stats - the entire EPL cannot defend set pieces well...Sadly I dont think the manager believes that a Skrtel & DAgger partnership is the future of the LFC centre back line up. Sakho will become a fixture sooner or later
 

shootscore

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Mignolet

Johnson Toure Sakho Flanagan

Lucas

Gerrard Henderson

Suarez Sturridge Coutinho


I'd go with Toure and Sakho, because I think they can do the job at hand and this would be a good game to give it a try, secondly I like the idea of a meritocracy with the back four.
Might be worth playing either/or Sturridge/Suarez up front and rest the other given the lack of back up, the number of games coming up, and fitness (they're both not 100% at the mo) but Hull have a good defensive record at home so let's throw caution to the wind a little here and go for glory. Rest whoever needs resting when the jobs done.
 

lfc.eddie

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SoueysTash said:
According to the stats - the entire EPL cannot defend set pieces well...Sadly I dont think the manager believes that a Skrtel & DAgger partnership is the future of the LFC centre back line up. Sakho will become a fixture sooner or later
Regardless of personnel, we have been going through the same problem in set piece defending since last season. So whether Rodgers trust our current defensive pair or not is not the only thing he needs to iron out. It's the people involved in defensive organisation on set pieces and crosses that he should worry about too.
 
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