Liverpool XI vs West Ham With Balotelli, Markovic & Borini

Brendan Rodgers

When Champions League football returning to Anfield after a gap of five years, Liverpool scraped to a 2-1 win over Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets Razgrad. A trip to Upton Park beckons for Gerrard and co. in what promises to be a stern examination of the strength-in-depth of Liverpool’s squad. A tricky Premier League fixture following a Champions League tie represents an opportunity for Brendan Rodgers’ side to make a statement and to ensure they don’t fall off the early pace set by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.

The Reds slumped to an embarrassing 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at Anfield last Saturday and find themselves languishing in the 8th position with a paltry 6 points from 4 matches. And while their defence looks as shaky as the 2013-14 season, Liverpool seem to be missing a match winner such as Luis Suarez which is evident from the lack of penetration in their attack. Let’s take a look at the lineup Rodgers would put out to get the result on Saturday.

Goal Keeper:

Simon Mignolet

Simon Mignolet

Simon Mignolet is undoubtedly the No.1 choice between the sticks for Brendan Rodgers’ side. The Belgian would be looking to make amends for his gaffe which led to Ludogorets’s equaliser on Tuesday.

Defenders:

Javier Manquillo, Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho, Alberto Moreno.

While former Hammers youth product Glen Johnson should be involved in the squad after missing the last three games due to a thigh injury, 20 year old Atletico Madrid loanee Javier Manquillo should retain his place after a string of impressive performances at right back.

Dejan Lovren, on the other hand, has endured a turbulent start to his Anfield career and a physically intimidating, no-nonsense battle at Upton Park could well be the catalyst to kickstart his career at Liverpool.

Mamadou Sakho is arguably Liverpool’s best bet in defence on Saturday, given his ability in the air. The Frenchman will surely be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Alberto Moreno has already become a favourite with the Kop, given his bursts down the left flank. It is in defence that the young Spaniard must look more assured.

Midfield

Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho.

Steven Gerrard will continue in his quarterback role and would look to dictate the scheme of things in the middle of the park.

Jordan Henderson has an amazing engine in him and his box-to-box runs helps strike the right balance with Gerrard’s conservatively timed bursts.

Philippe Coutinho has looked off-colour in recent games, but has the quality to open up the best defences in the Premier League. Brendan Rodgers must keep faith in his Brazilian wizard.

Forwards

Lazar Marković, Mario , Fabio Borini.

Adam Lallana has lacked match fitness in his first couple of games and his poor showing in the Champions League may cost him a place in favour of Lazar Marković.

Fabio Borini could replace Raheem Sterling in the lineup after the England international is expected to be rested to avoid burnout. Borini impressed in his cameo appearance against Ludogorets and must be itching to get some action from the start.

Mario Balotelli was the subject of a risky summer move from AC Milan. Risky, not because of the figure involved, but because of Balotelli’s disciplinary track record at previous clubs. And with the West Ham centre-halves Reid and Tomkins expected to get under his skin, Balotelli would be better advised to let his football do the talking. Especially after breaking his Liverpool duck against Ludogorets.

Liverpool - Football tactics and formations

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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