Kickoff from Anfield at 19:45GMT, 2:45EST.
Johnson Skrtel Carragher Kelly
Pacheco Gerrard Lucas Jovanovic
Bench: Gulacsi, Aquilani, Kyrgiakos, Maxi, Wilson, Spearing, Eccleston
This lineup is full of awesomeness---Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic in their Anfield debuts, Dani Pacheco back from a U19 Euro performance in which he spent most of the time walking on water, and another start for the still-flourishing Martin Kelly. Nice mixture of youth and experience both on the pitch and the bench. We also see Maxi Rodriguez return to the squad out of nowhere---I put out an APB for him last week and still heard nothing, but apparently his kidnappers released him and he's back into our consciousness. Daniel Agger misses out on the squad after apparently suffering an injury in training midweek. If this squad hits anything resembling top gear, it'll be a long night for the Macedonian visitors.
Dimovski Belica FernandoLopes Adem
Tuneski Gligorov Todorovski Ze Carlos
Da Silva Wandeir
Bench: Kandikijan, Sekulovski, Marcio, Mojsov, Roberto Carlos, Petkovski, Sinkovic
**Reminder that there will be updates both here in the comments section and on Twitter. I prefer here.**
In the run-up:
Good news today coming out of the first leg of the tie with Rabotnički---UEFA have opened up an investigation into the behavior of the fans in Macedonia during last week's match. As I mentioned at the time, and a few commenters wrote, racism in any form by any person is unacceptable, and to say that it's unfortunate and wrong is a vast understatement. It truly is a shame that individuals of any race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation experience discrimination in sport or any other venue. Hopefully in this case there's some sort of resolution, and hopefully people can treat each other a little better.
Off the soap box and back to football---there's finally some sort of confirmation about the Christian Poulsen rumors---his advisor has reported that there have been talks about bringing the 30-year old midfielder to Anfield, but as of yet there's been no terms agreed.
I admittedly know little about Poulsen other than seeing him in action during the World Cup, but by all accounts he'd be a solid addition to any midfield. For me, this is a clear indication that Mascherano's exit is coming soon---signing Poulsen adds depth to the central midfield when Masch leaves and provides a level of proven performance at a high level. I don't see him working his way into the starting eleven immediately, but he'd be a good option off the bench to shut things down.
I don't know that this will cost much, either, making it another relatively low-cost move in the market for Liverpool. Which is slightly worrying, but entirely unsuprising. And were this a week and a half ago I'd be shouting (in Babel Twitterese) "WUT ABOUD LEFFF BAKKK #LEGOOOOO," and I still might, but now that Fabio Aurelio's back and Emiliano Insua could be staying it's not necessarily the top priority. That doesn't mean central midfield is, though, and I think the club would still do well to add another option up top.
The only other news floating around today involves the ongoing saga with the attempt to buy the club by Kenny Huang and the China Investment Corporation---apparently there's government involvement, which means that Liverpool will soon be a Communist state. Or something.
I'm not going to get into the ideology or the politics of the issue, mostly because I hate both ideas and politics. But there's bound to be plenty more discussion as a result of this news, so it's worth mentioning. I think anyone who pretends that they know the implications of this news is either some sort of wizard or completely full of sh*t. I always assume the latter and work my way backwards. It's just safer that way.