Liverpool v Man Utd: Torres back.

Rafa Benitez picks just about the strongest team he can for today’s visit of Manchester United.

Fernando Torres is back, as is Glen Johnson, but it’s not clear exactly how fit the pair are and whether their appearance today is a risk. Steven Gerrard isn’t available today, he’s not recovered from the injury he’d tried to come back from in midweek, sustained on international duty.

Joining Johnson in the back-four are captain for the day Jamie Carragher, along with Danier Agger and Emiliano Insua. In the centre of the midfield are Lucas and Mascherano, but it’s not clear yet what the formation will be. Fabio Aurelio starts the game, along with Yossi Benayoun and Dirk Kuyt.

This is of course a game that is always full of tension and played in an atmosphere of ill-feeling. This season’s game is in danger of far too much of the ill-feeling being purely within the Liverpool camp, with both owners expected to put on a show of unity despite George Gillett’s recent comments blaming Tom Hicks for comments he’d been filmed making himself.

Whether they get on with each other or not, there’s still a lot of resentment towards them from fans and protests were planned before the game from members of the Spirit of Shankly supporters’ union.

It’s not just the owners that are subject to the ill-feeling – with a run of four defeats fans are looking for someone to blame, and the fans that aren’t blaming Rafa are picking out individual players they see as being the overall cause of the problems.

In reality it’s not so simple as changing one person to fix the problems at the club, the bad run will come to an end at some point, even if not today, and it won’t end any sooner by throwing the blame around and everyone under the Liverpool umbrella arguing with each other.

Kenny Dalglish called earlier in the week for Reds to show some unity, and it’s time to turn that ill-feeling to today’s opponents.

One of the most likely candidates to be on the receiving end of that is former Liverpool striker Michael Owen. He got sympathy from a decreasing number of supporters as his career nosedived more and more each season following his Anfield exit, but that came to an abrupt end when he joined United. Fans kept some respect for him for his role in some memorable games before his decision to run down his contract and leave for Madrid, but that respect is now gone. It wasn’t just his decision to join United that disappointed those fans, it was the complete lack of recognition from him about what it might mean to those supporters.

However Owen starts on the bench, as he has done most of the time since moving to Old Trafford, alongside the scouse-hating Gary Neville, so the early resentment will be aimed at United’s scouse hero, Wayne Rooney.

Today was always going to be a tough game, but Liverpool have to fight and stay focussed for 98 minutes if they’re to get something out of it.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Benayoun, Lucas, Mascherano, Aurelio, Kuyt, Torres.
Subs: Cavalieri, Voronin, Babel, Ngog, Spearing, Degen, Skrtel.

Manchester United: Van der Sar, O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Berbatov, Rooney.
Subs: Foster, Neville, Owen, Anderson, Nani, Fabio Da Silva, Jonathan Evans.

Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)

6 thoughts on “Liverpool v Man Utd: Torres back.”

  1. What a game, Lucas was excellent what you think Cantos, Aurelio is slowly filling Alonso’s role, mash was a monster, kuyt and beny hardworking and a lot of flair, ngog showed that is promising a 20 year old scoring against manur with the on ly chance he had will lift him up, but the 10 out of 10 goes to the discipline, all the players and to rafa.

    By the way and the fans were great and they bood the right person, Mr. Owen.

  2. Great result, Everyone gave their all for the cause today. Even the players that i personally dont think are normally good enough to wear the shirt of LFC played very well today and all credit to them. Let’s hope this the start of something great and not just a one off. I thought Benayoun was fantastic – what a great ball for Torres goal – and what a goal!
    Pleased for the young Ngog as well. He was under under a lot of pressure and managed to keep his composure before scoring. Thought the crowd where amazing yet again.
    I wonder Mr Owen’s thoughts are tonight?

  3. Just got in. What a game, what a day.

    Yossi was the man of the match for me, closely followed by Carragher. Everyone played out of their skin and were a yard faster than Utd.

    Yeah Lucas played well, got forward and looked inventive. But well done to the manager who got the formation, tactics and obviously the attitudes right.

    More of the same. If we can continue with this desire and this pace we will be right back in it.

    Well done reds, unlucky purple nose!

    Sorry for any wrong grammar, but I’m a little worse for wear.


  4. what a victory to celebrate especially when your are alone at the man u fans forest.
    at work, at home, fellow players etc.
    torres proved that ferdinand has to retire and benitez still strong to fergie.

    longlive anfield boys

  5. great victory- you’re a genius rafa! now we just need to get rid of these c@nts.

    David Shoalts
    Published on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009 2:42AM EDT
    Only in the NHL does it seem the worse off a team is financially, the better it does on the ice. How else to explain the 6-3 Phoenix Coyotes and 5-2-4 Dallas Stars?

    Even though the Stars are battling through the severe financial woes of owner Tom Hicks, whose foray into British soccer (Liverpool FC) and overspending on his baseball team (Texas Rangers) caused havoc with his bankers and his hockey team, sources in the banking community say much brighter days are ahead.

    The official NHL position remains that once Hicks sells the Rangers, he can concentrate on the Stars. But sources in the banking community say Hicks’s problems are severe enough that the Stars will be sold, too, once the Rangers sale is completed.

    The sources say a line of buyers for the Stars is already queuing up in front of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. And word is one interested party is Calgary oil-and-gas tycoon Bill Gallacher, chairman of Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. and managing director of Avenir Capital Corp., a private equity firm. He also owns the WHL’s Portland Winter Hawks.

    Gallacher, 48, admitted yesterday he is interested in owning an NHL team, and said he introduced himself to Bettman a couple of months ago. However, Gallacher added he has not discussed the Stars or any other NHL team with the commissioner.

    “I have nothing on the go right now,” Gallacher said. “I have had no specific discussions about any team.”

    Hicks Sports Group, which owns the Stars, Rangers, 50 per cent of American Airlines Arena (where the Stars play) and 50 per cent of English Premier League club Liverpool, defaulted on $525-million (all currency U.S.) in loans to 38 banks last spring. Since then, Bettman had been playing hardball with the banks, along with Hicks, demanding they ease up on the terms of the loans. But, a source said, he has since become more conciliatory with the banks.

    The Stars would attract a lot of looks if they go on the market because they were among the league’s leaders in attendance when the team was a Stanley Cup contender and they come with a half-interest in an arena that makes a lot of money. One source expects the Stars package price to be more than $200-million and perhaps closer to $300-million.

    But in the meantime, things have changed in the way the NHL team does business on the ice.

    In the old days – around the turn of the century, when the Stars were annual Cup contenders – problems were fixed with expensive free agents. Now, under rookie general manager Joe Nieuwendyk, the payroll is $10-million lighter (at $45.6-million) and it is a smaller, faster team, not to mention younger.

    Today’s Stars are not big, grinding forwards who wear opponents down with a two-way game, with Mike Modano and Nieuwendyk taking care of the scoring, backed by fellow standouts goaltender Ed Belfour and defenceman Sergei Zubov. Now, Modano is an injured 39-year-old checking centre and centre Brad Richards is the closest thing Dallas has to a superstar. With Zubov gone to Russia, the defence is an anonymous mix of youngsters and veterans.

    But things are working out all right so far, as new head coach Marc Crawford has the Stars playing more of a skating game. Veteran goaltender Marty Turco is playing less and playing better with experienced backup Alex Auld on the team.

    The Stars’ 5-2-4 record, which had them sixth in the Western Conference before last night’s games, could be much better since it includes three shootout losses.

    “I can’t say enough about the job our scouting staff has done over the years,” Nieuwendyk said. “Our franchise is No. 3 as far as points-per-season season over past 12 years, so you know not getting high draft picks every year. They’ve done a good job finding these later guys in the draft who became good players, guys like James Neal and Jamie Benn.”

    With Richards playing centre and mentor to Neal and Loui Eriksson on the top line, and Mike Ribeiro centring Benn and Brenden Morrow, the Stars have two good scoring lines. Neal has six goals, and Richards has 13 points in nine games.

    “He is really good on the bench with them,” Crawford said of Richards and his young wingers. “He is a professionally responsible player who keeps [Neal] grounded. He is focused on the right things.

    “When you have success as a young player, it’s keeping track of the details. [Richards] knows what the details are. He really keeps [Neal and Eriksson] focused.”

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