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Matchday: Liverpool v. SC Braga

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Liverpool v Arsenal

Kickoff from Anfield at 20:05 GMT, 4:05 EST.

Ways to Watch:

Match live on Five in England, 3e in Ireland, and GolTV in the US.

MyP2P.eu
Atdhenet.tv
From Sport

Liverpool:

Reina
Johnson Carragher Skrtel Wilson
Maxi Lucas Meireles Cole
Kuyt Carroll

Bench: Gulacsi, Ngog, Pacheco, Kyrgiakos, Spearing, Poulsen, Flanagan

The major talking point ahead of kickoff is the full debut of Andy Caroll, and from the looks of it he'll be partnered in some way by Dirk Kuyt. Behind the front two will be a midfield four, with Raul Meireles likely to be the more advanced of the central midfielders and Lucas behind; they'll be flanked by Joe Cole and Maxi. Likely to be plenty of turnover between Meireles, Lucas, and Cole, although that's assuming that Cole is interested in doing some running tonight. No Daniel Agger to be found, with Danny Wilson taking up the mantle again on the left, Glen Johnson right, and Martin Skrtel and Jamie Carragher in the middle.

Braga:

Artur
Miguel Garcia---Paulao---Rodríguez---Sílvio
Salino---Hugo Viana
Alan---Vandinho---Paulo César
Lima

Bench: Cristiano, Kaka, Helder Barbosa, Meyong, Dani, Peterson, Mossoro

In the run-up:

A few assorted ramblings to pass the time until match time tonight...

** We might be entering "flatter Pepe Reina so he doesn't leave in the summer" season already, although if you're me, that season is year-round and mostly focuses on staring at random shirtless in-game photos of Liverpool's number one. But Kenny Dalglish has joined in and heaps on the praise ahead of what will be the Spaniard's 300th appearance in a Liverpool shirt:

"In my opinion Pepe Reina is one of, if not the, best keeper in the world. I know he doesn't get in his national side, but if it's my opinion you're asking for that would be my shout. He has been fantastic for this football club and is a great asset to us. That is reflected in that if Stevie (Gerrard) or Carra (Jamie Carragher) are not playing, he is our captain."

No word if Dalglish was staring at a shirtless photo at the time of the comments. Anyhow, there's plenty who share the same opinion about Reina, many of them regular visitors around here. There's also plenty who share the opinion that failure to qualify for Europe added onto a tumultuous eighteen months could be enough to see Reina leave in the summer. He hasn't exactly ruled it out, which basically makes him the focal point of Liverpool supporters' summer transfer market anxieties. Again, general consensus seems to be that some combination of European qualification, league recovery, and transfer activity early in the summer could be enough to tip the scales in Liverpool's direction, but if he's set on leaving, we're all well aware that there's little the club can do to stand in his way.

** Those who viewed the Champions League this week likely experienced the same range of emotions that I did---jealousy, boredom, intoxication, and confusion. Ignoring the fact that "intoxication" isn't really an emotion, the best was clearly the confusion, as Nani recovered from a career-threatening scab in record time to face Marseille on Tuesday.

Let me be clear---the tackle from Jamie Carragher was awful, could have ended very badly, and was more than deserving of a red card. Just ask Nani:

"It is the second time he injured me. Before he put me out of the game for two months. He always tackles like that. I don't know what he was thinking but I know what he did was not football.

"When I saw my leg for the first time, I thought my season was finished, that is why I was crying. Afterwards, the doctor saw my leg and said I had been lucky because it just needed stitches and I would be out for two or three weeks.

"I don't want protection. I just want the referees to be fair. If it is a red card, they have to give it. If they give the card, the next time the player doesn't make the tackle."

Yes, because we all know that real football involves gently nuzzling your jheri curl into another man's neck in an attempt to harm him and then falling to the ground as though the apothecary had just slipped you a drop of his strongest cough syrup. Like I said, the tackle was horrible and has no place in the game, but neither does the shit that he turns in match after match. It'd be different if "community center understudy" wasn't the best way to describe his general approach to football. Until then, spare the lectures and stick to the game.

Those of us who've already suffered the horrendous fate that is daylight savings time have plenty of time left to wait; the rest of you have plenty of time left to drink. Either way, here's a stirring rendition of "Danny Boy" to take you up to kickoff on this St. Patrick's Day. To borrow from one of the commenters on YouTube, if this isn't how you sound by the end of the day, you're not doing it right.