Liverpool is taking on bottom club Queens Park Rangers this afternoon. The circumstances, especially attack-wise, could have been better. Daniel Sturridge is out injured, Raheem Sterling is recovering from the ”tired”-business, Mario Balotelli is still unconvincing and to add insult to injury the Reds is on a mediocre 10th place in the table.
Okay, there are some positives aswell. Adam Lallana seems to have hit top form, Philippe Coutinho is getting there, Steven Gerrard got a healthy rest during the international break, Fabio Borini is really eager to impress and Joe Allen and Emre Can is back from injury.
However, whoever plays we must and should beat QPR. The Londoners is propping up the table with only four points after seven games. If Liverpool is unable to overcome today´s opponents then the future looks bleak indeed.
The news that Daniel Sturridge is out for three och four more weeks was a major blow. He has so far only played in three league matches scoring one goal. Ha hasn´t featured since the Tottenham game at the end of August. If the reports saying four more weeks on the sidelines is true then he will miss seven upcoming crucial fixtures including four league tussles, two Champions League clashes with Real Madrid and the League Cup meeting with Swansea.
Without him Liverpool´s attack has been toothless and unprolific. If we can´t step up now, even without our main striker, then the season is in danger of fizzling out completely.
And this is mainly the fault of the manager, his staff and whoever failed to make sure that we signed another capable striker this summer. I wrote at the start of the season that it would probably come back to haunt us. Only Daniel Sturridge is a guarantee for goals but he is also a guarantee for injuries. And when he is out our options is Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert. It was a real gamble to trust any of them to step up to the plate with Sturridge out. And sadly none of them has. We should had opened up the cheque-book and bought one more top-class striker.
But right now nothing can be done about it. We have to cope with what we got. And it should easily suffice versus QPR. Liverpool is the better team in every way and in all team departments. It´s time for Coutinho to take front row and start being the excellent playmaker he can be. It´s also time for the striker picked to start deliver. There has been a lot of talk from Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Borini about what they are going to do. None of them has found the net in the league so far. Time to not just doing the talk but also the walk.
Don´t expect an easy win though. QPR is in dire straits and will fight all over the pitch and get ten men behind the ball as soon they lose possession. And they know that Liverpool´s defence is vulnerable facing counter-attacks and that dead ball situations easily can be goal-chances since the Reds is lousy in handling these situations.
To prevent that QPR is getting their way Liverpool must take charge directly and seek for an early goal to calm nerves. Because it´s gonna be a nervy game. The Reds know that anything less than three points is a failure. As always I want to see a line-up set up to attack. This one is preferred, in a 4-4-1-1-formation:
GK: Brad Jones. RB: Javier Manquillo. CB: Martin Skrtel. CB: Kolo Toure. LB: Alberto Moreno. DM: Emre Can. RM: Raheem Sterling. CM: Steven Gerrard. LM: Philippe Coutinho. AM: Adam Lallana. CF: Mario Balotelli.
In other words, I want to see Gerrard higher up the pitch, he is not suited to the role of sitting midfielder. And I want to see Lallana in free role, floating around everywhere behind Balotelli, between the lines. Sterling and Coutinho should also move a lot, switch sides and attack through the middle. An attack constantly on the move will be to difficult for QPR to handle. And the movement is the key, something Liverpool must improve a lot on. It will be a hardfought battle but I think it will be a red triumph in the end, 2-1. It was two weeks ago but now:
We Go Again.