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Match Preview: Liverpool v. Blackpool, 10.03.10

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Blackpool come to Anfield to "attack like there's no tomorrow." Oh.

In an alternate universe we'd look at this fixture and think Blackpool are a side that visit on Sunday desperately overwhelmed.

They're just promoted, they're preseason relegation fodder, they're just lovable for their novelty, for their supporters, for their brilliantly likable manager. Coming to Anfield to make it six of eight away from home to start the season, after already visiting the Emirates and Stamford Bridge (and conceding 10 while scoring 0), we'd say this result writes itself.

And we'd be laughably wrong, because we'd be ignoring their relatively fantastic start to the season, as well as the abysmal performances by Liverpool to start the season. The latter doesn't deserve any attention---we've covered that ad nauseam, and odds are we'll have plenty of chances to discuss it again before the weekend's over.

So by all indications, Blackpool will enter Anfield on Sunday with a brand of football that's already won some acclaim, and it's basically a matter of playing out their manager's promise. It didn't do them any favors against Arsenal or Chelsea, but against teams that are content to sit back and let the opponent dictate the pace and tempo of the match, it can be grinding. I forget, what's been our biggest complaint about Roy Hodgson's Liverpool?

They haven't had any standout performers statistically---Marlon Harewood leads the squad in scoring after netting twice on the opening day, and otherwise they've shared the wealth. Matthew Gilks has weathered the storms against the two London heavyweights to put together a decent start to the season between the sticks, and veterans Stephen Crainey (def.), Ian Evatt (def.), Charlie Adam (mid.), and David Vaughan (mid.) have joined Gilks in starting every match this season.

Onto the home side:

1. Who will start for Liverpool?
2. What’s the most important factor for the Reds?
3. Who’s going to win and what’s going to be the scoreline?

Tempt fate by giving your answers below. If nothing else, you can laugh at my continual shortcomings in predicting scorelines.

1. Who will start for Liverpool?

Reina
Johnson Carragher Skrtel Kelly
Kuyt Gerrard Meireles Cole
Ngog Torres

---Because why not?

---I still don't buy the "Torres is unhappy and off-form and possibly pregnant" bullshit we've been reading, because it's patently untrue. To anyone with the power of vision, it's a case of getting absolutely no support and service. He's frustrated because he's playing a one-man game against four men. Not good odds. Adding Ngog to the equation changed things against United and Sunderland, and I'm not against trying something different. Roy Hodgson is, though, so this will not happen.

---Continuing with things that won't happen, I'd love to see Gerrard and Meireles partner in central midfield. It's clear that Lucas has become the odd man out despite playing Christian Poulsen off the park every time they've partnered---also, Christian Poulsen has played himself off the park every time he's played, so maybe not that impressive. Back to the point, which, yet again, is mix it up. Please.

---If it weren't so damning for the club in defense it'd be hilarious---"Hodgson's Left Back Dilemma" You dipshits. Your only course of action is to re-sign an injury prone leftback, add an aging journeyman whilst subtracting a promising young talent, and then you act like it's news when there's no actual left backs available for selection six weeks into the season. So who knows? Maybe Danny Wilson makes his debut. Maybe Kelly's back. Maybe Agger's back. Nevermind, let this rainbow shooting straight out of the manager's ass lighten your load---"On the positive side though Steven Gerrard will be back and we'll be raring to go on Sunday." Terrific stuff!

2. What’s the most important factor for the Reds?

For me, it's essential that Liverpool respond to the previous weeks' failings in a big way---we've all been waiting for it, and now's as good a time as any. I hope for it, but I'm not sure I expect it, and that's largely down to Hodgson. There's not much more here for me. Liverpool need to show intent, character, and drive, or else they continue their slide into irrelevance.

3. Who’s going to win and what’s going to be the scoreline?

I honestly think a low-scoring affair is out of the question---Holloway's proven to be a man of his word thus far, and I think this one's wide open. I hope Blackpool force the issue, open things up, and Liverpool capitalize with a 2-0 win. Woah, 2-0, easy fella.

No word where/how this is being televised other than on delay stateside. Check the matchday post tomorrow morning for stream links and any news.

Have a good Saturday everyone.