Back to the stuff on the pitch today for Liverpool with the visit of non-league side Havant and Waterloo in the fourth round of the FA Cup. And despite there being a gap of five divisions between the two sides, Rafa Benitez is not really taking any chances.
Charles Itandje is in goal, with David Martin on the bench, as Rafa keeps to his promise to the pair that they would be the two in the matchday squad for domestic cup ties, at least in the early stages.
In front of Itandje new signing Martin Skrtel is making his full debut for the club, where he will partner the ever dependable veteran Sami Hyypia. Skrtel’s arrival probably means Sami’s days at the club are numbered, but the Finnish international will do all he can to help Skrtel settle in. Sami is captain for the day. Steven Finnan and John Arne Riise are the full-backs, and with Riise strongly rumoured to be on his way out of Anfield the Norwegian international will be hoping to put in a good performance and no repeat of his third round own goal. Jamie Carragher is on the bench.
In midfield Javier Mascherano will be looking after youngster Lucas who continues his progress towards becoming a regular starter for the club.
Quite how the rest of the midfield lines up remains to be seen, because Rafa likes to experiment and we may see a 4-5-1 rather than 4-4-2. Peter Crouch will certainly be up-front, but whether he’ll partner Ryan Babel or stay up there alone remains to be seen. If Babel is partnering him then one of Yossi Benayoun or Jermaine Pennant will play on the opposite side of the pitch to where they normally play. There’s of course also the possibility that Yossi will play more centrally, just behind Crouch.
Dirk Kuyt is one of two forwards on the bench. If somehow things start not to go too well then expect Fernando Torres brought on, but if it goes as it should then expect Dirk Kuyt to come on with the aim of building up some confidence.
Also on the bench is Steven Gerrard, just in case his influence is needed to turn the game.
Liverpool: Itandje, Finnan, Riise, Hyypia, Skrtel, Mascherano, Lucas, Benayoun, Pennant, Crouch, Babel.
Subs: Martin, Carragher, Kuyt, Gerrard, Torres.
Havant and Waterlooville: Scriven, Smith, Jordan, Sharp, Warner, Harkin, Wilkinson, Collins, Potter, Pacquette, Baptiste
Subs: Slabber, Oatway, Taggart, Gregory, Taylor
Referee: Phil Dowd