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Liverpool v. Wolves, 12.26.09

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Merry Christmas again to all, and brief look towards tomorrow's Boxing Day fixture with Wolves.

More in-depth stuff from the official website here, but I wanted to at least get something up after the Christmas morning gift-opening frenzy. If you must know, my in-laws bought me cologne and new socks. Clearly I've made an impact on their lives, at least in the olfactory department.

Wolverhampton Wanderers visit Anfield to celebrate Boxing Day, currently on 19 points in league and three points safe of the drop. They've been brilliant at times this season, but they've also been susceptible to the traditional newly-promoted spankings. Mick McCarthy received a bit of stick in the past few weeks for fielding a less-than full-strength side in a midweek match with United (which they lost 3-0), but he was proved to be a smart man, at least for the weekend, when they dusted Burnley a few days later. Ireland international Kevin Doyle leads Wolves in attack with 5 goals in league, followed by defender Jody Craddock with 4.

It's no secret that Liverpool are in need of a good performance, and tomorrow is as good a time as any to launch Season Six: Redemption, on the heels of Season Five: Disappointment and Season Four: Broken Promises. Javier Mascherano will obviously not feature, as he's both injured and banned, but Alberto Aquilani could get a start. This is me biting my nails in anticipation. Wee. Apparently neither Steven Gerrard or Fernando Torres is 100% fit, and if that's the case the starting eleven could look a bit choppy. Only time will tell, but we could see Liverpool field a side that's similar to the eleven that faced Wigan nearly a fortnight ago.

Liverpool can't afford to take Wolves lightly, especially since the Reds have shown on a number of occasions that they're no better than a middle-of-the-table side on a bad day. The best days have been few and far between, with most of the victories coming on smash-and-grabs or grinders. Tomorrow would be a great way to find consistency, in performance and approach more than anything. Regardless of the players on the pitch, or where they fit, the effort and pride cannot waver. Sadly, that's been the most lacking piece of Liverpool's performances this year, and the component most responsible for my disappointment. Heading into what will likely be a very turbulent 2010, it'd be nice if Liverpool could finish 2009 with a couple good performances.

Lastly, a plug for what's going on over at oh you beauty, a team of the decade poll that's quickly winding down, along with some great discussion about the current state of the club. Obviously I've mentioned his stuff before, but I think nate does some of, if not the, best blogging about Liverpool on the net. Take a visit and spend an afternoon.

Happy Holidays, hoping everyone has had safe travels and good company wherever you might be and whoever you support.