Champions League – Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Liverpool v Fiorentina
Liverpool start this game in third place in the group and will end it in the same position regardless of the result. Fiorentina will be looking for the win that would guarantee them top spot in the group.
It’s going to be Liverpool’s last game in the Champions League this season and if they want to play in it next season they need to start getting some points on the board in the league this season. Next up domestically is a clash with Arsenal on Sunday and tonight’s line-up was understandably made with that in mind.
Pepe Reina is on the bench so that Diego Cavalieri can get a rare start in goal. Daniel Agger and Emiliano Insua both start but Jamie Carragher has dropped to the bench to make way for Martin Skrtel. Glen Johnson has been rested completely after his recent spell with injuries and this gives a chance for 21-year-old Stephen Darby to show what he can do at this level.
One name that comes as a welcome sight on the bench is that of Fernando Torres, out since the beginning of November with a hernia. David Ngog hasn’t made the matchday squad, but Steven Gerrard, Yossi Benayoun and Dirk Kuyt all start. 18-year-old Spanish striker Daniel Pacheco is also on the bench tonight.
There’s clearly some hope from manager Rafa Benitez that Andrea Dossena will be able to do enough tonight to impress someone back in Italy enough to make a move for his signature, so he starts.
And in midfield Javier Mascherano is partnered by Alberto Aquilani, making his first start since his £17m arrival in the summer. Much has been said about the Italian, tonight he finally gets a chance to turn the talk into action.
Liverpool: 1 Cavalieri, 32 Darby, 37 Skrtel, 5 Agger, 22 Insua, 15 Benayoun, 20 Mascherano, 4 Aquilani, 38 Dossena, 8 Gerrard, 18 Kuyt
Subs: 25 Reina, 12 Aurelio, 16 Kyrgiakos, 23 Carragher, 26 Spearing, 9 Torres, 47 Pacheco
Fiorentina: 1 Frey, 2 Kroldrup, 14 Natali, 23 Pasqual, 25 Comotto, 29 De Silvestri, 4 Donadel, 18 Montolivo, 20 Jorgensen, 24 Santana, 11 Gilardino
Subs: 35 Avramov, 90 Seculin, 6 Vargas, 41 Aya, 45 Federico Carraro, 9 Castillo, 32 Marchionni
Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovakia)
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT