About time I kicked off a match post so I thought I’d go for tge big one.

Its fair to say this is a season defining game with winnng the europa league being our one and only target.

The bug question is who plays alongside Lovren at the back in the absense of Sakho. Id love to say Skrtel, its been the clear choice for many years but…

Skrtel’s return against the saints also seen a return to the shakey uncertainty at the back, something we really dont need here. Lovren is a confidence player and has looked his worst playing alongside Skrtel.

Id start Lucas, the adopted scouser has been a revelation at CB when called upon, bringing a calmness to the back 4.

This leaves a vacancy at dm though, with Hendo and Can absent it’ll leave only the in form Joe Allen as the holding midfielder. Given the physically lightweight Spanish opposition this may prove fruitful.

We’ll see what Jurgen chooses though, a big call there. The rest of the team is fairly easy to choose, the stage is set for the hungry Sturridge to prove he’s top dog in attack.

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KLOPPite
Member

Feels like a Cup a Final already. Like I almost need one of those countdown to kickoff clocks.
The back will be important to figure out. And like you said the front is easier to sort. But I think the front is more important this game. Sturridge, Firmino, Courinho and Lallana need to pin them back and have them cautious to lessen the pressure on our back and allow them time to settle. And then get at least one goal. I think we could be good for two though

RedUncle
Member
My one issue with Lucas is the amount of free kicks he gives away. When he’s playing as a defensive midfielder it’s not as much of a problem because the free kicks he gives away tend to be further up the pitch but as a defender he gives away free kicks on the edge of the box. Given our lack of midfielders right now I’d keep Lucas for midfield and put Kolo in defence. Kolo is playing well at the moment, he plays well with Lovren too, and he has the air of authority over his defensive teammates due to his experience. If things go pear shaped early on I’d rather have Kolo on the pitch than Lucas. That’s not an insult to Lucas, it’s just he doesn’t quite have the same stature in the squad as Kolo. The whole emphasis of this away leg is on keeping things tight, limiting mistakes and making the most of the relatively few chances we’ll get. If I was in Klopp’s position (if only) I’d prioritise reliability over pizzazz in my team selection. Bring Villarreal back to Anfield and do the business there, in this leg keeping a clean sheet is the primary… Read more »
Jamie (admin)
Guest

Very good point with the free kicks, although at CB he doesn’t seem to give half as many away.

After reading the comments here I can see the logic in going with Kolo. Can always rely on the Kopfans faithful 😉

Koped49
Member

I would play Kolo with Lovern and keep Lucas DM then if need be when Kolo is tiring move Lucas for last twenty minutes into defence, and bring on young Stewart in midfield, any way it’s Klopp who as the real problem, think he will have work at it in training, think the attacking department will be where we will be strongest, and certainly need to press up front and keep them on the back foot, which will help keep the pressure on our defence to a minimum.

sandiphulse
Member

So this could be the team… coming back with a clean sheet and three points would be awesome, Villareal plays tiki taka football, so our lads needs to intercept their passes and keeping possession will not be easy against this Spanish team, however we could counter them,,, Ojo might play a crucial role in the later part of the game…

Migs

Cline Lovren Kolo Moreno

Lucas Allen

Milner Coutinho Lallana

Sturridge

Realspanishred
Member

I’m going against the grain of the forum on this one as I would have Skrtel in the back four. It is too easy to blame one man for the collapse against saints but the whole team capitulated in that second half. If folks remember Migs wasn’t great either, and Skrtel like everyone else needs time after an injury.

Realspanishred
Member

It might be an idea to leave Lovren beside Cline and use Skrtel to cover for Moreno.

Huytonian
Member

I’d have Kolo ahead of Skrtel. Kolo has never let us down yet this season when called upon despite his age. Lucas needs to be very careful about giving away silly free kicks as they have a couple of free kick specialists. Their key player is Bruno Soriano. I’m not sure why we have never been linked with him, a superb midfielder. We will need to press him very quickly or he will run the game.

Koped49
Member

We are normally linked with every one

KLOPPite
Member

Which in reality usually means we aren’t.
I see our links in the future being more German and Central European rather than Iberian and Latin American. Not saying that is who we will always target, just that it’s the easy story for lazy journalism

lanoisseforp
Member

Since Sakho is unavailable… best choice is to play Kolo for the both legs and rest him from the Swansea game because it’s worthless and we’re out of reach for the last two remaining places in the top 4.

It should be interesting to see what team Jurgen Klopp puts out this Thursday night… at the end of the first 90 the positive result matters most.

KLOPPite
Member

Advance over ManU. Miracle comeback vs Dortmund. No Can, Hendo, Origi and now Sahko.
Thank God we got Klopp with his CL Finals experience and not BR. Nothing against BR but Klopp has been a difference maker

KLOPPite
Member

No Sturridge to start. Klop said it was more for stability and 4-3-3.

warrior18
Member

I don’t understand why sturridge isn’t starting tonight, anybody got any idea’s on that????

KLOPPite
Member

Klopp sounded like he wanted to go a little more defensive driving weather their attack. As I just commented I think he will feel the second half for 15-20 minutes and then maybe bring on Sturridge.

lanoisseforp
Member

10 minutes late and how are we doing so far?

Jamie (admin)
Guest

Not much to report, pretty even. Only one decent chance where Allen hit one straight at the keeper.

lanoisseforp
Member

that was a hell raiser between the 20th and 22nd minute of the game.

Jamie (admin)
Guest

Heart in mouth stuff, were used to it though 😉

lanoisseforp
Member

That ends the first half and 0-0 with a few hairy moments. Appears they have more possession of the ball but that’s ok… we kept it clean and hopefully we can come up with the goods in the second half.

RedUncle
Member

On the whole, I thought we defended quite intelligently. No really hurried decisions from the back line. Not the prettiest of play but we were always going to have to grind this one out.

KLOPPite
Member

Consideringthey are fourth in La Liga and theyve beaten both Madeid clubs there this year and I believe came back from two down to draw Barca, a 0-0 first half isn’t bad.
We need more offensively from both Firmino and Coutinho valthoigh based on Klopp’s preface talk I think he wanted us to tighten in the first half and take a couple punches against the ropes without getting hurt. I suspect he will counter punch around 60-70 minute mark if we are getting some possession without a finish, by putting on Sturridge for Coutinho or Firmino b

lanoisseforp
Member

Ibe replaces the count… due to an injury?

lanoisseforp
Member

free kick my ***… lucas won that fairly… no wonder Klopp is livid

lanoisseforp
Member

fantastic save from migs

KLOPPite
Member

****!!!!! Moreno beautiful except the finish. Scores that and we are in the Final

lanoisseforp
Member

unlucky Moreno from the counter attack even though at the same time i am ****** off from the miss

lanoisseforp
Member

Benteke replaces Firmino… strange decision

lanoisseforp
Member

I don’t believe this 1-0 down

KLOPPite
Member

Toure poorly misjudged that lob and it cost us

KLOPPite
Member

Extremely disappointing finish to what was going to be a job accomplished.
I still like our chances at Anfield though with the crowd behind us and our attack can hopefully open them up and put more pressure on them. They’ve seen plussed by our pressure.

RedUncle
Member

Ironically, we’ve tended to play at our best when we’re up against it, especially at Anfield, so in a back-handed kind of way they might have done us a favour.

warrior18
Member

I was thinking the same, very confident we’ll beat them at anfield and make the final, especialy if they play like they did lastnight, they were worse than us imo.

RedUncle
Member

We concentrated at the back for ninety minutes and then in extra time we blink. So frustrating. Kolo, Lovren and Lucas had really good stats for the evening too. Taking Villarreal back to Anfield on 0-0 would’ve been a decent result given their home form.

Weird situation with Sturridge though. The game was calling out for a central presence up front but he stays on the bench. Can’t quite work that one out. Coutinho went off with illness, it has been reported.

KLOPPite
Member

I wondered because in the first half he offered very little on either side of the ball

lanoisseforp
Member

It feels like 90 minutes has been wasted at 0-0 until time added on and it’s like a smash and grab goal to win the first leg. Also feels like a kick in the guts with their goal at the end. Villarreal were the better team and we did put up a fight and took our chances.

Disappointing result and maybe it’s for the best so it will remind u that we’re 1-0 down and the second half of the 90 minutes are remaining plus the home crowd support… I still believe we can overcome this deficit and reach to the final. And most importantly we have been down this route over the years so it’s not bad as it seems… keep positive… Next stop Swansea on Sunday.

warrior18
Member

Can’t agree they were the better team lanno, they were awful but we weren’t much better, we’ll do them at anfield for sure, we’ll be in that final.

Koped49
Member

What was Moreno doing 70 yards up the pitch, at that point in the game, we need real full back who can defend as well as attack, and also have intelligence to know when and when not to do it

KLOPPite
Member

He scores at the end of his hard fought breakaway and he is the hero.
So fickle is this game we love

KLOPPite
Member

What was most puzzling was not seeing Sturridge brought on. While Firmino worked a little more on defense than Sturridge might have, he was in one of his modes where he continually gives away the ball.
One moment of brilliance by Sturridge may have been enough.
Now we will need at least one from him at Anfield

warrior18
Member

I love klopp and consider us lucky to have him as our manager but he got it wrong tonight, studge should have started or played a part, something is up there i feel, dosen’t look good for studge at lfc me thinks.

sandiphulse
Member

No warrior I don’t think there is anything wrong with Sturridge, I think Villareal would have had a go at Sturridge if he was there on the pitch and injury to him means relying completely on attacking MFs for goals, he is clearly preserving Sturridge for the second half IMO… Sturridge and the Brazilians are clearly capable of scoring goals, I think we can do this, Besides I don’t know if Klopp has played against Villareal, now that we know their strengths and weakness better, he will have a better blue print to win against them..

warrior18
Member

He could have played for an hour lastnight, sat out the swansea game at the weekend and played the return leg next thursday, that’s a full week to recover, no problem. There’s something going on behind the scene’s with klopp and studge, there has to be, they were there for the taking lastnight and chances are we would have took them if studge had been on the pitch.

RedUncle
Member
Klopp has never beaten a Spanish team at their end in any of the European competitions so I think from the outset he saw this as a fixture that was going to be difficult to win. You could tell from the team he selected and how we played deeper than normal that Klopp was going for game management first above goals. To be fair, it nearly worked. We did have a couple of realistic chances to score and we kept out a decent counter-attacking team for ninety plus minutes. It’s hard to tell what the situation was regarding Sturridge. He warmed up at half time so we can rule out injury or sickness. I’ve got a feeling it may be a combination of two things – Sturridge isn’t known for his defensive aptitude and this was a game that required just that, and should Sturridge get injured we have no-one near his standard to replace him (Benteke doesn’t look up to it). Klopp may have decided he just wanted to get out of this leg with as little damage as possible, and an away goal if we’re lucky, and he’d throw everything at the home leg, with a fit and… Read more »
Huytonian
Member

I’m as puzzled as everyone else as to why Sturridge played no part. OK the front three were the lads who played and won at City and Chelsea so I’m not arguing with the starting line-up but when Coutinho went off at half time we were crying out for a striker to replace him. We had lots of possession around the box and got behind them a few times but there was nobody to finish off the moves.

The result is so frustrating as we were in control until that late goal. The second leg is going to be very difficult as Villareal defend in a very organised way. Its going to need Anfield in full voice. I’m clinging to the though that we always seem to do best when our backs are to the wall.

Simply Red
Member

I think you all have a point about Sturridge. Something tells me we need to wn at least 2-0 in the return leg. Tall order with no Can and Sakho and only 1 fit striker. Will need that Anfield 12th man

RedUncle
Member

It’s easy to forget we have lost a number of influential players that have had a direct impact on getting us to this point – Sakho, Henderson, Can, Origi. I just wonder whether we’ve lost one player too many. It’ll be interesting to see against Swansea whether the remaining players have gained by playing together against a decent standard opposition or whether they look jaded.

Jamie (admin)
Guest

This crossed my mind too, especially Sakho & Henderson that provide leadership & motivation. I do fear we’ll lose momentum and with that the chance of winning the Europa league, hopefully I’m wrong though, we do nothing the easy way after all.

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