Cutting Throats

Liverpool vs. Derby

Premier League

3pm (10am EST) Saturday, September 1

The Lowdown: Saturday’s clash is a stark contrast between two clubs, each headed in completely opposite directions. Liverpool sit fourth with seven points while Derby are butt-naked last with one single point. The juxtaposition continues with a look at the goal differences; +3 for Liverpool, -6 for Derby. In four games, Billy Davies’ squad has given up nine goals. It’s obvious there is only one acceptable result for Liverpool: the complete and utter destruction the Rams.

And a cleansheet.

Andriy Voronin should be available for selection after being held out midweek as a precaution over a thigh strain. Carra is definately sidelined due to his broken rib and collapsed lung, while Gerrard has been all but ruled out. Stevie G could play with the help of an injection, but Rafa is certainly not going to risk him given the wealth of talent at his disposal (to say nothing about the opposition).

The manager on his captain’s fitness:

I spoke to Steven again yesterday and the news was not very positive. It will be very difficult for him to play on Saturday. The doctor will continue to help him, but maybe it’s too early for this weekend.

Rafa also added that Harry Kewell and Fabio Auriello were improving, so hopefully we’ll see them in the coming weeks. Maybe even sooner for Harry?

As for Derby, Billy Davies is cranky as he’s staring down the barrel of a very long and frustrating season, the likes of which can only be tolerated with heavy drinking:

The mistakes that we are making and the lack of concentration and switching off at crucial times is mind blowing. The players are cutting their own throats. We can’t afford to keep making the same mistakes, it is a situation we have got to learn from quickly.

We can’t go to Anfield and be so naive because if we do Liverpool are the sort of team that will punish you severely. The manner and timing of how we are losing the goals in the last few games has been stupid and it is a concern. It has to stop for the next game. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us.

We have got to learn how to become a side that is difficult to break down and difficult to play against. We have to develop character and work ethic that stops you from losing goals at crucial time and that can resist at time of pressure.

Sadly for Derby, their brightest player, 19-year old midfielder Giles Barnes, has yet to play a game since breaking his foot in May. It seems the wolves are circling as the club has admitted they’ve recieved an offer for the talented youngster, albeit a lowball bid.

Davies can’t be happy about facing a future (he recently had his contract extended) in the Championship without a player of Barnes’ ability once he inevitably moves on the greener pastures.

Unfortunately for the manager, his most pressing problem isn’t an injured midfielder, but the players who currently make up his backline. The defending has been woeful, and honestly, shows no signs of improvement.

Here’s hoping it gets ugly at Anfield…

5 Questions TBA:

  1. Assuming Rafa restores Xabi to the starting line-up (and why wouldn’t he?), who will fill the other central midfield role — Momo or Masch?
  2. Will we see more of Leto and/or Leiva on Saturday?
  3. Is it fair to say we’re making dramatic advancements towards the old Liverpool way of “Pass and Move” (but maybe with a modern twist)?
  4. Given the talent/depth in the squad and the fact that Carra’s injury wasn’t enough to warrant a spot for Hobbs in the midweek game, what will it take for youngsters to see Premiership action (at least from the bench)?
  5. For the love of all that is holy, can I please get another cleansheet for the sake of my struggling fantasy team, Clash City FC?
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