Let's set the scene - Preview Liverpool

We have to win our individual Battles! On Wednesday night another battle commences at Anfield in the Champions League. For the second year...

We have to win our individual Battles!

On Wednesday night another battle commences at Anfield in the Champions League. For the second year running we face Liverpool AWAY in the first leg. To me, this is a massive factor. In those horrible seasons where we were knocked out by Liverpool it was considered that they had the advantage of the second leg being at home. For one reason or another this was a deciding factor including last season were we knocked them out at the Bridge. Now this, like last season, forces Benitez to make some decisions on how he approaches the game along with Guus Hiddink. Do Liverpool set their stall out to try and establish a comfortable lead to take to Stamford Bridge? Or are they fearful of our counter attacking football?. Do we set out to "Nick" a goal there or keep it tight and compact and wait for the game to open up.

Whatever way we think the game will pan out it will definately be intriguing. I for one do not think that this will be as close as it has been in recent times. I think Liverpool can only play one way in the Champions League and that's with Gerrard behind Torres and 4 other people in midfield that will include 2 "holding" midfielders and two wide men.
I think that the Chelsea we are seeing now compared to a couple of months ago can mix it up. Different formations. Different players adapting to different roles within the framework of the side. This is where i think we are at an advantage. They rely on Mascherano & Alonso in the middle of their midfield. The only other person to come in for them would be Lucas but i am not convinced he is Premiership standard let alone Champions League. Chelsea have strength in depth with 2 or 3 from five midfielders. Lampard, Ballack, Essien, Deco and Mikel. This is where the game will be won in my opinion.

I think we have to start with Essien, Lampard and Ballack. I think Mikel is too rash at times in the tackle and you can imagine him putting one on Gerrard early getting booked for it and having to watch himself for the rest of the game. To beat Liverpool (in my eyes) there are some key factors in the game.

Key Factor: Keeping Gerrard quiet.
When he plays behind Torres he likes to look to drop into the space between the oppositions Defence and Midfield and exploit the space. It is important that whoever plays the holding role takes him out of the game by closing out the space. Putting him under pressure. Can you remember Gerrard having this influence at the Bridge in the 2nd leg last year? No, so its important we do the same on Wednesday.

Solution: Essien on Gerrard.
I think this is one that will be key. Essien is so strong and powerful i think he can take Gerrard out of the game. If he sits in the space and around Gerrard i can't see Gerrard getting the better of him. His strength would be too much for the weedy Gerrard and let's hope Gerrard retaliates and loses his head.

Key Factor: Torres, keep him quiet.

From being at the 2nd leg last year and watching the game live you can see that his movement is fantastic. BUT, with these hamstring strains etc he is having is he/will he be the same player? Again its important to keep him quiet. If he is the only one up front why not put JT on him and take him out of the game?

Solution: JT on Torres.
There is no other centre half in world football that can dominate you like JT. Can you see Torres doing to JT or Carvalho what he did to Vidic the other week? No i honestly don't think he will. Its important JT gets on top of Torres early. Shut him down quickly and do not let him settle on the ball.

Problem: Alonso, close him down early
He is a similar player to Michael Carrick. When he has space and time he can play a pass and put you in trouble, you close him down and he panics. So let's put him under pressure and take him out of the game.

Solution: Lampard on Alonso
This used to be one that got tongues talking and was one they both were well up for, this was before the joke sending off at Anfield this season. Frank has said they pretty much cleared the air after the England v Spain friendly so will be interesting to see what happens. I think if Frank gets his game going and manages to force Alonso into mistakes and puts him on the back foot Alonso will struggle. He is another one who makes rash tackles when under pressure. If Frank gets the chance to have his way it could be a very very productive night for Super Frank at Anfield.

Key Factor : Skrtel let's put him under pressure as the Man Marker out of him and Carragher.
I don't think he is as good as Agger is for them but seems to be first choice at the moment. He plays as the Man Marker and this allows Carragher to sweep up behind him.

Solution: So I say let's put Didier on him from the word go and see just how good he is.
Skrtel played the second leg at the Bridge last season and we all know what happened there. Didier won his battle and scored two goals. I am not impressed at all by Skrtel and with Didier back on his game and scoring goals can only mean one thing on the night. If we do the above, Liverpool haven't got much else and we should be good to go. I honestly believe we have nothing to worry about at Anfield. Yes, they beat Man Utd 4-1 and Real Madrid at Anfield but Madrid aren't used to the pace of the Premier League and couldn't cope and Vidic had the worst game of his life along with Ferdinand and i can't see it happening on Wednesday.

Wednesday will be all about battles in different parts of the pitch. Most importantly in Midfield. If we keep Gerrard and Torres quiet we haven't got much else to worry about. Let's hope we come away with a good result.

What do you think about my post? Do you agree or not? Why don't you post a comment and put your own opinions forward.

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Post a Comment

  1. wow this blog is great! only got to know of it when i happen to see your post in the Singapore CFCSG forum. good read and i am gonna 'favourite' it.

    i think the key will be to keep Gerrard and Torres quiet. Do that and we can say confidently that 75% of Liverfool's threat is taken away. on the flanks, A.Cole and Bosingwa will still have to be wary of Reira and the hardworking Kuyt.

    it will be interesting to see how Drog and Anelka will pair up and terrorise Skrtel and Carragher. LFS was still in charge and Anelka played upfront on his own in that recent 2-0 loss. i have more confidence in the tactical nous of Hiddink, but we are a bit narrow if we play Ballack, Lampard and Essien. will very much like to see Quaresma perform and he may be that unknown deciding factor.




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