Not much to report ahead of kick off against Kaiserslautern…
Kelly Ayala Kyrgiakos Darby
Jovanovic Spearing Lucas Amoo
Bench: Degen, Gulacsi, Irwin, Palsson, Robinson, Shelvey, Ince, Dalla Valle, Hansen
Based on the team sheet alone, I’m guessing that we’ll see something resembling a 4-4-2 today. I’d imagine that there will be a good amount of interchange at the top with Eccleston and Jovanovic, leaving Ngog alone as the only permanent striker. I'm a bit surprised that Alberto Aquilani has been completely left out---I haven't been able to find anything regarding his absence, so we're left to hope that it's not due to fitness. We do see the return of the Greek in central defense, as he's displaced Phillipp Degen in a back line that is still quite young. Lucas captains the side from the center of midfield for the second match in a row, where his partner will again be Jay Spearing.
In the run-up:
As I mentioned, there's a paucity of Liverpool-related news today outside of the friendly. The only piece worth mentioning is a handful of quotes from David Ngog, who has bucked the transfer talk and stated his desire to stay with Liverpool. It's no secret that the club still desperately need depth at striker---at times last season Ngog looked off the pace and isolated when he filled in for Fernando Torres, and while he's a year older, I don't know that he's the answer in a back-up role. We've already seen the arrival of Milan Jovanovic, but I'd expect to see at least one more signing up top.
The preseason and Europa League matches against Rabotnicki will be mighty important for Ngog---with the absence of the regular first-teamers, he's going to be one of the more experienced squad members on the pitch. Particularly in Skopje, where the atmosphere will likely be hostile, a good performance could go quite a ways in assuaging Roy Hodgson's concerns about depth at striker. The real convincing will be done once the Premier League season starts, though, and by that time the club might have already made a move.
Inching closer and closer to meaningful matches---today's all that separates Liverpool from their first real test of the season.