Melwood Today: The Quarter Final Battle of Stamford Bridge

lfc reservesLiverpool travel to Stamford Bridge later this evening with the Reds having just a full day to recover from Sundays 1-1 draw with Manchester City. In Tuesday’s Melwood Today we take a quick look at the early team news and our new member to The Melwood Today Preview Panel, Nikola Mitrovic, provides his thoughts on Chelsea, his hopes for team selection, men to watch and his result prediction…

Chelsea v Liverpool, Carling Cup Quarter Final

Chelsea Team News – Andre Villas-Boas’ Chelsea team will be without the suspended John Terry after the Chelsea defender collected his fifth booking of the season against Wolves on Saturday.

Raul Meireles also misses out as he is cup tied while long-term knee injury victim Michael Essien will also be unavailable for tonights clash. Romelu Lukaku, Salomon Kalou, Josh McEachran, Alex and left-back Ryan Bertrand could all be drafted in to the starting eleven.

Provisional Chelsea Squad: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Bertrand, Alex, Cole, Luiz, Mikel, Romeu, Ramires, Lampard, Mata, Malouda, McEachran, Torres, Drogba, Kalou, Sturridge, Lukaku, Turnbull.

Liverpool Team News – Dalglish is highly expected to make several changes for the Carling Cup quarter-final clash. Carragher is expected to make his first appearance in over a month.

Martin Kelly is also expected to be recalled for the right back position while Rodriguez, Spearing and Carroll will also be looking to start the game tonight. Craig Bellamy should return having been omitted from the Sunday clash with Manchester City on compassionate grounds after the death of close friend Gary Speed.

Provisional Liverpool squad: Reina, Kelly, Carragher, Coates, Enrique, Spearing, Lucas, Rodriguez, Henderson, Carroll, Bellamy, Doni, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Wilson, Aurelio, Adam, Downing, Kuyt, Suarez.

The Melwood Today Preview Panel

A new member to The Melwood Today Preview Panel, Nikola Mitrovic provides his thoughts on Chelsea, his hopes for team selection, men to watch and his result prediction…

Nikola Mitrovic: “It’s obvious that Kenny is determined to bring some silverware back to Anfield after a five year drought, so I expect him to take this game as seriously as previous games we played in Carling Cup this year. He will be impeded by the fact that our team didn’t have that extra day to prepare for the match and that our squad is the one that will have to travel but I believe that we have enough strength in depth for the most of positions in the first eleven to cope with demands.

I believe that another tactical game ensues – I guess that Andre Villas-Boas is under pressure to win this one after a spell of bad results for a club of Chelsea‘s aspirations, so I expect a bit of more attacking set up from them, possibly including some of their coveted youngsters such as Josh McEachran, Ryan Bertrand and Romelu Lukaku. I also expect Fernando Torres to feature for them and Alex should be back in Terry’s place.

I think that Kenny will stick to his trusted fluid 4-4-2 formation, only with many changes to playing personnel due to fatigue of first teamers who played against Manchester City – I’m almost certain that Carragher and Kelly will be starting the match, with Aurelio, Coates, Spearing, Maxi and Carroll probably also starting. This would be a good game for Bellamy to continue his fine form but every Liverpool fan will understand if he’s not selected for this match after the unfortunate death of his friend Gary Speed. Central midfield will pose an interesting conundrum for Kenny after our first choice midfielders all completed ninety minutes against City – perhaps a chance for Aurelio to pair Spearing at the heart of our eleven.

Opposition player to watch: If selected, which I expect if fitness permits him, Alex could be the key for Chelsea. He’s a different prospect to faltering Terry, I have the feeling that he always plays well against us, he’s very dominant and could stifle Carroll and also help Chelsea‘s cause by building the attacks from the back. The usual suspects like Drogba and Malouda, whom I also expect to be selected for this match, could also be the ones to make the difference for Chelsea.

lfc reserveslfc reservesKey head-to-head: It’s hard to predict the line-ups, especially with tactically astute managers like Dalglish and Villas-Boas but I predict a long and hard battle for Alex against Carroll if both are selected. They are both players with points to prove to their respective managers and fans, so I fully expect them to give their best in this match. Another interesting head-to-head battles should be Kelly versus Malouda and Spearing versus Mikel, again depending on team selection. If Bellamy was available for this match, I would expect him to give hard time to whoever gets the chance to mark him.

Match predictions: I think that this one will go into extra-time, with regular time ending 1:1. I can’t really look beyond that. I expect our lads to give their best and make us proud once again. It’s a shame that they weren’t given a chance to rest and properly prepare for this match but I hope they can take it as an extra incentive to go out there and win this tie for us.

2011/12 Top Goalscorers

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Table Updated : Now includes Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool Goalscorers

Tuesday Morning’s Premier League news

  • Kenny Dalglish believes the scheduling of tonight’s Carling Cup quarter-final is “irresponsible”.
  • Monday saw football fans across the World pay their moving tributes to Gary Speed after his suicide left the game stunned.
  • The Daily Mail report Carlos Tevez’s potential switch to AC Milan has been thrown into doubt after the Italians revealed any signings they make in January will be on loan.
  • Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni is reportedly set to sign an extension to his Irish contract this week which will see him lead the country into the 2014 World Cup qualifying series.
  • Queens Park Rangers are looking for sites for a potential new stadium in west London, the club’s owner Tony Fernandes has revealed.

Guest Contributors to Melwood Today

The Melwood Today Preview Panel

1. Phil Montgomery 2. Nikola Mitrovic 3. Brian Irvine 4. Craig Rimmer 5. Michael Sweeting

1. 2. 3. 4.  5.

If you would like to become part of our Melwood Today Preview Panel or simply want to vent your thoughts, frustrations, dismay, delight or joy in an upcoming Melwood Today, be creative, impress us and get involved by emailing your letters and views to [email protected] and you might just feature in an upcoming Melwood Today edition!

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