Losing The Thumbs?: Liverpool v. Newcastle

Will Brendan Rodgers pay for his ambition on Wednesday?

As you all know, sometimes when you gamble the fates come by and take your thumbs. While I wasn't as irate as some over the events of Wednesday night, we'll all find out if I should have been tomorrow. The biggest questions over this match for Liverpool are over Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard, and Luis Suarez. This will be the fifth match in two weeks that they will all at least take some part in -- Allen has started all of them and may be fading already. It does seem like a big ask, though Suarez and Gerrard had less than a half on Wednesday. It's a load Gerrard used to be able to carry....wait, could he ever? Ok, now I'm getting nervous.

There are only a couple health questions for Liverpool. Whether Pepe Reina and Glen Johnson can make the bell. Smart money says they both don't, which means Enrique and Brad Jones will take their place. The tactical decision comes down to whether or not Shelvey plays with Allen and Gerrard, or Sahin does. Sahin has been pretty unremarkable in his last two outings, and Newcastle isn't going to allow him any more time than Everton and Reading have. Shelvey hasn't always combined well with Gerrard, and of course there's no chance of Jordan Henderson who actually can play deeper more successfully than the bald one can. If you really wanted to get spicy you could put Suso in his preferred central role with someone else combining with Sterling and Suarez, but don't sit on a hot stove waiting for that to happen. It'll be Sahin, whether you like it or not.

There are so many other sides I'd rather see coming into town than Newcastle with Liverpool already stepping on their tongues. The Geordies have only lost twice in the league, and that was to ManUre and Chelsea. But they also haven't got a win away from home this year, drawing with Everton, Villa, Sunderland, and Reading. A win would see Liverpool go over Newcastle on goal-difference and into the top half, if you can believe that and if you can believe we're actually at a place where getting into the top half is something to smile about.

It's the first half of the season, which means Demba Ba is scoring. He's got seven goals. Tiote is suspended for his idiotic red card against the Makems, which will probably see James Perch come in for him to pair with the excellent if not sneaky dirty (read: French) Johan Cobaye. I'm guessing Alan Pardew thinks he can go for this, and will pair Ba with Papiss Cisse, and look to keep Liverpool's defenders busy and scaring the fuck out of us on the counter. Ben Arfa is another to watch when possession turns over, as in the open field he can be lethal. Jonas on the other side most likely.

It's hard to sit here and say Liverpool just need to take their chances again, especially with Tim Krul always capable of keeping you out single-handed. But there will be chances, Newcastle have only kept a clean sheet against Norwich. But now it's about finding more in the tank when the thin-ness of the squad is just starting to take hold. And Liverpool kind of have to win this one, because it's Chelsea and Spurs waiting after this in the league. Otherwise, it could get ugly again very quickly.

This is also your thread. Have at it.

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