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Match Preview: Liverpool v. Manchester City, 08.23.10

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Liverpool travel to the Eastlands in the late match on Monday.

I sit in the Seattle airport a comprehensively defeated man---overwhelmed by four days of travel and drinking, possibly having transcended time and space, and most certainly pessimistic about the how things unfold for Liverpool after the news of the past few days.

My time today is brief, but normal service returns tomorrow. Which, unfortunately, means that work does as well, and I'll be lucky to catch any part of the match. It's probably for the best---I'm still so pissed about the departure of Alberto Aquilani that I'd probably send myself into shock in the minutes before kickoff.

So I'll keep it short and sweet, posing the three questions again:

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?

Chime in with your own answers and comments praising mine below.

1. Who will start for Liverpool?

Reina
Johnson Carragher Skrtel Aurelio
Maxi Gerrard Mascherano Jovanovic
Kuyt Torres

Besides Milan Jovanovic, this is essentially the 2009-2010 squad transformed into a 4-4-2. I doubt it will happen---Roy Hodgson has shown plenty of interest in the 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-1-1, and on the road against a tough opponent cries out for two defensive mids. But I think this gives Liverpool a shot to have some sort of influence going forward; also, the prospect of fielding two defensive midfielders makes me shake with rage.

The back line remains the easiest to pick, save for the left-back position. We still don't know what's going to happen with Emiliano Insua, Fabio Aurelio played against Trabzonspor but apparently had his struggles, and there's no way on earth than Daniel Agger should feature. That might open the door for Martin Kelly, but I think away from Anfield Hodgson sticks with experience.

I desperately hope we see a four-man midfield behind Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt---it lets Kuyt do the running for a still-recovering Torres, partners Steven Gerrard with Masch/Lucas/Christian Poulsen, and still maintains some sort of fluidity. You know, the thing that Alberto Aquilani was going to do.

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

Solidarity. I don't expect the current squad to go to the City of Manchester Stadium and try to overwhelm the trust-funders with flowing football, and they shouldn't try. They'll need to withstand what will likely be a forceful attack by City, and getting stretched against a squad with so much talent and pace could be a death sentence.

City couldn't piece the talent together against Spurs, however, and if Liverpool are solid in their tactics and performance, they very well could come away with the result. Far too often last season we saw a dispirited, disorganized Liverpol, especially away from home. A tough first road test for the Reds to be sure, but one in which they can prove themselves to truly be a team on their way back.

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

As much as I'd like to see a clean sheet in the future, I think City gets one past Pepe but not enough to get all three points. This one's ending 1-1.

Matchday post up in the morning, and updated as much as possible throughout the day. If I can catch it on stream I'll be updating here or on Twitter.

Have a good one.