Ahead of the visit of Man City to WHL on Sunday few things will be exercising Mauricio Pochettino’s mind more than the fitness of Danny Rose who limped off at St James’s and consequently didn’t start at St Mary’s. Ben Davies had been having something of a stinker last Saturday before his afternoon and season ended prematurely when he dislocated his shoulder. Vertonghen was switched to left back in his place and whilst on the other side Eric Dier was having a good game against PFA team of the season member Ryan Bertrand (yes really) Poch won’t be happy if he’s forced to start four centre backs strung across the rear against a team as capable, on their day, as the Bank of Abu Dhabi’s finest.
And that caveat is important as City haven’t been ‘on their day’ as often as they’d like to have been of late. Aguero’s mid season injury and Toure’s visit to Equatorial Guinea and the AFCON seem to have proved key in making the year go with more stagger than swagger at crucial times. They lost contact with Chelsea a while ago and for a short time looked like they might get drawn into a fight for fourth but Liverpool’s current reliance on Henderson for goals has put paid to that. Still, I’m sure they haven’t got any problems that throwing some cash at won’t help resolve.
Aguero has recently rediscovered his touch in front of goal but the defence is a bit of a mess and that’ll give us some hope despite our own over reliance on one man for all our goals. Having said that, both Eriksen and Chadli have now reached double figures for the season so perhaps I’m exaggerating our dependence on Harry. Chadli indeed looked more interested and capable than he has for a while last week. He took his goal well and on a number of other occasions took on his full back and crossed dangerously, albeit in a dinky rather than dangerously whipped a la Dier fashion, a couple of times.
Poch’s selection in midfield could be key with the lightweight foursome of Eriksen, Mason, Bentaleb and Lamela likely to struggle against City’s musclemen. I’d personally like to see Dembele or Stambouli given a start, but that’s unlikely as the manager does appear to love the Mason and Bentaleb fulcrum with a couple of nominal ‘wide’ men either side. Paulinho started at Newcastle of course though so we’ll see.
Liverpool’s sudden loss of goals and form mean that all of a sudden a good run to the end of the season might see us in fifth and a far more respectable position than recently seemed likely. A good result on Sunday would certainly give us some momentum ahead of Stoke, Hull and Everton and if Harry can get some space and time in the right areas, we’ll be using our latest Ladbrokes football betting promo code to lump on!
Andre Marriner is referee to help add a random factor.
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