Liverpool FC: Predicting Their Starting XI Against Sunderland
Liverpool's pre-season has been bad, to say the least. They have had horrible results against mediocre teams with average players. Most recently, they played against Valerenga and secured a 3-3 draw with a stoppage-time equalizer from Valerenga. Their last preseason game is against Valencia at Anfield, where the reserve side, which manager Kenny Dalglish is likely to put out, get a chance to show their worth and affirm a place in the team for the coming season.
This has been an eventful transfer window for Liverpool. Kenny Dalglish has kept his promise and splashed the cash about. He has mainly strengthened the midfield area. His first buy of the transfer window was highly rated Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson for a sum believed to be around £20 million. He also brought Scottish playmaker Charlie Adam in from Blackpool for around £17 million. He brought Roma goalkeeper Alexander Doni in on a free transfer. His most recent move was for Stewart Downing from Aston Villa for about £20 million.
Injuries to Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard mean that he will be out of the start of the season with an injury. Also out is midfilders Jay Spearing and Milan Jovanovic have put them out for an unspecified amount of time.
GK: Pepe Reina
Pepe is one of the greatest goalkeepers in the world and has shown particular expertise in his penalty saving. He has one of the highest shot-to-save ratios in the Premier League and has been a Liverpool starter since 2005. It should be no real surprise to see him in the starting lineup.
LB: Fabio Aurelio
The Brazilian left-back is undoubted quality. His only gripe has been injuries. He has made only 14 starts last season, but when he has started, he has looked assured and cultured.
DC: Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger
Carra has been Liverpool's best defender last season and has kept them in many games with his last-ditch tackles. Daniel Agger has been a class apart. His tackling and pace at the back has been the perfect foil to the Terry-esque defensive play of Carra. I think Dalglish will look to go with this pair for the match against Sunderland.
RB: Martin Kelly
Martin Kelly is youthful. He is tough in the tackle, adventurous in attack and has a good cross. Kenny is not scared to pick youth over experience, so Kelly will be my shout to get in.
DMC: Lucas Leiva
Liverpool's unsung hero. Lucas has been a revelation this past season. He is a great defensive midfielder, not afraid to put himself about, accurate passing and great tackles as well as an unflappable presence in the centre of midfield.
DMC: Charlie Adam
Charlie Adam was inspirational for Blackpool last season. He played as a deep lying playmaker in Blackpool's 4-3-3, spraying accurate passes from deep. This is the role that I think Adam will play in Dalglish's system.
LW: Stewart Downing
Downing is the type of player that Liverpool have needed last season. This season, Dalglish has brought him in—a winger who can cross really well and also has a great shot and passing sense.
Raul Meireles has been the more flashy counterpart to the efficiency of Lucas. He has been dazzling, with his runs, passes and dribbles playing in the hole for Portugal and Liverpool. He had a great pre season and will look to build on last season's performances.
RW: Dirk Kuyt
Dirk Kuyt has been one of the players of the end of last season. He has come into his own, flourishing with Luis Suarez's signing..
ST: Andy Carroll
Though he had a hefty transfer fee, Carroll is a great striker. Carroll is a great target man, exceptional in the air, and a great finisher. Now Dalglish has wingers who can cross and should help Carroll flourish.