As a large contingent of Liverpool fans marched on Anfield in protest at how the club is being run, the next thing on their minds was the game against major rivals Manchester United.
Rafa Benítez had arguably his two most important players looking doubtful for the fixture, with Steven Gerrard just starting his recovery from a groin operation, and Fernando Torres having been out due to a hamstring injury. Although the club said both players would be available for today’s game, the manager didn’t feel confident that they were fit enough to start. Both are on the bench; Rafa will be hoping they can stay there all game, rather than having to risk bringing them back too early.
Robbie Keane gets the chance to open his Anfield account against a team he will want to beat as much as any other Liverpool fan. If Rafa decides to play 4-4-2 then Kuyt will be Keane’s partner. Babel is also on the bench, with new signing Riera making his debut today.
Manchester United also have a new-signing making a debut, Keane’s former team-mate Dimitar Berbatov following on from his controversial transfer from White Hart Lane.
One of Liverpool’s co-owners, George Gillett Junior, is expected at the game after flying into the country. He’s believed to have changed hotel from the Malmaison to another city hotel on police advice. At least one member of the Tom Hicks family is expected to attend the game too.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio, Benayoun, Alonso, Mascherano, Riera, Kuyt, Keane
Subs: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Dossena, Gerrard, Babel, Ngog, Torres
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Anderson, Carrick, Scholes, Tevez, Berbatov, Rooney
Subs: Kuszczak, Evans, O’Shea, Hargreaves, Fletcher, Giggs, Nani
Referee: Howard Webb
Kick-off: 12.45pm BST