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Liverpool at Portsmouth: What will Rafa do?

Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, and Pepe didn't even make the trip and it's highly doubtful that Rafa will use Agger since he's needed to mark Drogba again on Tuesday. Finnan is still out with a neck injury, even though he was deemed fit to play against Chelsea on Wednesday. I don't see Sissoko starting here either, though I do expect him to come on with about 20 to play. I have a feeling Momo will get the call on Tuesday to annoy the hell out of Ballack and Lampard.

This match is going to be a huge test for the side we put out there. Portsmouth will want to win badly as they are trying to qualify for a UEFA Cup spot. Winning on the road with a 'weak' side in the Premiership is never easy, especially against a determined squad.

It looks as if Paletta and Hyypia will start as centre backs, which means the foundation of our defense is very shaky though Sami played well in his last outing against Wigan. Riise will try to redeem himself after his horrid effort against Chelsea and hopefully, with Pennant starting on the right, Arbeloa will not be required to cover the whole right side of the field. I expect the center of the midfield to be covered by Mascherano, another player who will be looking to recapture his pre-Chelsea confidence, and Xabi, whom I'm hoping will make an about face from his recent sub par displays. Sissoko may start here, but it's not the usual way Rafa brings a player back from injury.

On the left, Gonzo will probably start, and I'm praying he gets a goal for his confidence. I've watched the Wigan match a couple of times and though my initial reaction to his performance was negative, he's kind of grown on me. He should have had at least one goal, but could have had multiple, but things just didn't fall into place for him. His efforts were positive and few tweaks here and there and he could easily get on my better side.

Up front, Robbie Fowler will probably get the call, and I see him paired with Bellamy, though we could go with five midfielders and start Sissoko, going for the obvious draw then bring on Bellamy late and go for the win. It'll be nice if Fowler could get to double digits in goals for us this season and he's only three short with three to play. This could be his last match in a Liverpool kit though.

I hope we go for the win from the start, but who knows? I'm getting a little tired of conservative Rafa though.

EDIT: Oh, wait, I forgot about keeper and the bench, though the latter should be obvious. The Slave will start in goal though I wouldn't mind seeing Padelli there. Other than Daniele , given if whether or not five midfielders will get the call, either Bellamy or Sissoko, with Agger, Zenden, and Kuyt will ride the pine with only either Bellamy or Sissoko and Zenden being the likely ones to actually see the pitch. Cheers.