With the addition of Benayoun, Babel, and Torres, we are ridiculously loaded. So much so that I think our B team could probably make a run at a Champions' League spot. I would love to see a match between the two squads, but first the benches would have to be determined just in case someone got injured or a late game spark was needed.
Here's the A team:
GK - Pepe Reina
RB - Steve Finnan
CB - Jamie Carragher
CB - Daniel Agger
LB - John Arne Riise
RM - Jermaine Pennant
CM - Steven Gerrard (c)
CM - Javier Mascherano
LM - Harry Kewell
F - Dirk Kuyt
F - Fernando Torres
The B Team:
GK - Scott Carson
RB - Stephen Darby
CB - Alvaro Arbeloa
CB - Sammi Hyypia (c)
LB - Emiliano Insua
RM - Yossi Benayoun
CM - Xabi Alonso
CM - Momo Sissoko
LM - Ryan Babel
F - Andriy Voronin
F - Peter Crouch
The first team, other than the flanks, are pretty set. I could definitely see Yossi starting over Kewell, but I don't think Babel can be our starter just yet. On the second team you might be wondering why I put Insua in over Aurelio. Well, it wasn't because Fabs is injured, it's because I would pick Aurelio as my first sub. He can play the flanks at either side and at back and in the middle. You could also probably use him at CB if needs be, but you'd have to be very particular about what his responsibilities are or you might end up with an extra forward who should be playing back. His versatility could end up being crucial though and Insua is good enough if he stays disciplined.
The 'substitutes draft' would go something like this. The B team would naturally get the first pick followed by the A team and interchange from that point on.
1. B team - Fabio Aurelio - (see above)
2. A team - Adam Hammill - Yes, those out on loan still can be used. Hammill provides cover if Kewell gets injured or if Harry or JP get tired. He's also a great late game spark.
3. B team - Danny Guthrie - Now the midfield is covered, not sure if he's any sort of spark, but he is reliable.
4. A team - Lee Peltier - Can theoretically play all the midfield and back positions if needed. Not sure if he's ready for the Premiership, but he's definitely got pace.
5. B team - Nabil El Zhar - With Nabil you have the midfield flanks and forward covered.
6. A team - David Martin - You never know what Pepe's going to do so it's good to have someone as competent as Martin to come in.
7. B team - Martin Hansen - Uh, yeah, you need a backup keeper
8. A team - Craig Lindfield - back up insurance striker
9. B team - Gabriel Paletta - Probably won't see the pitch anyhow but he can cover your CBs
10. A team - Ray Putterill - Best of who's left and can also be a spark from the flanks
So there you go.
The A team reserves:
The B team reserves:
Nabil El Zhar
Wow, both those benches are pretty strong, not sure which one I'd rather have. The B team bench has the more experienced Aurelio and the polished Danny Guthrie as well as the talented El Zhar, but Hansen and Paletta are certainly weak spots. The A team is solid all round but don't have much defensive cover except Peltier. It's only a bench though and probably won't factor.
So, who would win? I think the A team would eventually wear down the B team's defense or Arbeloa would get caught too far up. If Kewell fails to perform, in comes Adam Hammill, that's a scary prospect. The youth on the defensive flanks of the B team could also be exploited, though I think both Insua and Darby will eventually be first-teamers for us.
The amount of quality midfielders we have is just ridiculous. Few, if any, teams can say they have a player of Xabi's quality on their B team. Though I'm not sure I mentioned it, against Werder his passing was world class spot on. And if Momo continues his play like he did yesterday, Stevie-G would be in for a frustrating day.
Ultimately, the B team would have a tough time scoring against a class defense like the A squad's. Agger would neutralize Crouch, Carra would take out Voronin, and Mascherano would take care of everyone else. If it went to penalties, well, there's only one Pepe Reina. Putting Aurelio in with about ten to fifteen minutes to go and letting him run wild might provide the chaos needed to get a dirty goal, but that could also backfire. What do you think?