Before we get to this weekend’s match, I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on Wednesday’s league cup (I will not call it by its “proper” name) victory over West Brom.
Another non-league match, another glorified youth squad.
If it wasn’t obvious enough, Brendan Rodgers has a thin bench. Any non-league match at this point forces him to trot out the youngsters by default. Case in point: Wednesday’s match saw a new record for youngest debut with the senior team. A lot of people are optimistic about the future after Wednesday’s display. It’s hard not to be, even if it was Nuri Sahin who scored both goals. There are talented players waiting in the wings.
But do not tell me that all of a sudden Dani Pacheco and Samed Yesil deserve a shot at the first team. These players are not prepared for the rigors of a full length season against some of the most talented individuals in the world. Will they be ready in two or three more years? Absolutely. But as I’ve said before, Liverpool are only falling farther behind by trying to play their youth/academy players too early.
And with that we turn our attention back to league play!
Saturday’s trip to Norwich has the potential to make or break the rest of the season. Liverpool currently sit in the third relegation spot with Norwich right on top of them. The Canaries have plenty to fight for at home and will not roll over. A loss will only magnify fears of relegation. It does not get any easier after this weekend with Stoke City (impossible to score against) and Everton (pesky local rival) coming up in October before November welcomes Newcastle and Chelsea. I would love nothing more than to let Brendan Rodgers have all the time in the order to try and create the “English Barcelona”, but nothing good can come from fighting off relegation for the entire season. Are we really better off finishing 14th or 15th and going into next summer with another meager transfer budget?
So with all that being said, who should start Saturday? Do some of the youngsters deserve a look? Here’s what I think…
Johnson- Skrtel – Coates – Enrique
Sahin – Allen – Gerrard
Sterling – Suarez – Borini
Daniel Agger and Martin Kelly have left massive holes in the back line and Jonjo Shelvey will serve his three match ban so a spot opens up for Sahin to start. I no longer believe in Jamie Carragher, so Coates gets the start. It’s time for him to prove he’s worthy of being a first team regular. There really aren’t a whole lot of options without dipping into the new found Fountain of Youth. If Rodgers wasn’t so stubborn about the 4-3-3, a 4-4-2 with Gerrard and Sterling at the outside midfield spots would make a whole lot more sense. Fabio Borini’s natural position is at striker. He struggles when he has to create for himself on the wing, far away from the goal. But if the 4-3-3 is must, then this is really the only option.
I think some momentum from Wednesday will carry over this weekend, but not enough to earn three points.
Prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Norwich
“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone!”