Red vs. Blue(birds): AA's Cardiff Preview

Alex Livesey

Brendan's Reds travel to the Welsh capital following our slow and steady demolition of the Mancunian empire on Sunday, with fans and players alike beginning to dream.

US: 11:00 AM EST-NBC Sports

UK: 3:00 PM-Game does not appear to be televised

Brendan Rodgers men barely got out of 2nd gear on Sunday, compounding to Manchester United's season-long misery. But it will all be for naught if we fail to win on our 3rd successive away trip, this time to the Welsh capital to play Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Cardiff side.

The Reds were in good spirits this week in training, and why not? We've just come off our biggest win of the season, though the number one thing is that we don't let it go to our heads.

Lucas made his return to first team action, coming on as a late sub for the superb Steven Gerrard at Old Trafford on Sunday. Mamadou Sakho is also in contention, having been involved in training during the week. Jose Enrique is still out, though, as well as Sebastian Coates.

Brendan has famously challenged the sports writers "If you think we can win the title, you write it." And it seems like he's finally adopted the "one game at a time" mantra, something he wasn't great for earlier on in the season.

Stevie G's been getting better and better as the season progresses, and will look to improve even further from last week, and continue bossing the midfield as he did at OT. Our midfield continues to be the driving force, even with SSS banging in the goals.

Jordan Henderson has also put in some impressive performances in recent weeks, as has Joe Allen. Jordan's workrate has been immense, and we'll be hoping he can continue with his form on Saturday.

Joe put in what was probably his best performance in a red shirt on Sunday, but instead of his usual position in the center of the park, Brendan had him operate on the left, which gave him freedom to use pace and move around more freely. One wonders if he'll continue this experiment going into this game.

For Cardiff, this could be a match that gets their escape started. It's not that they haven't put in some good shifts at different points this season, it's that they just can't build up any steam to get over the line. With the bluebirds definitely fired up for the game, even with only one point from their last 6 matches, the onus will be on us to make sure they don't get anything.

A battle to watch will be Jordan Henderson vs Jordan Mutch. Mutch has been probably Cardiff's only consistent performer, and a real bright spot. Hendo and Stevie especially will have to shut him down if we want to contain midfield as well as we have been.

Also, Craig Bellamy will likely be involved somehow, and, knowing him, that battle will be forged between him and anybody playing in a Liverpool shirt.

-Some other thoughts:

Early. Goal. Please, lads. (JAceKopite16)

-Do we continue with Joe Allen? While he played great against Man U, I still think that Cou gives us a little more creatively. That said, Joey was getting forward a lot at Castle Greyskull, and earned our second penalty, so maybe we do give him a shot. (JAceKopite16)

-Bellars will be a handful, no doubt. Put Danny Agger on him. (JAceKopite16)

-Speaking of the Dagger, just because Sakho's back doesn't mean he goes straight in the team, Agger had to earn his place again, now let Sakho earn it back. (JAceKopite16)

-Agree with Jonathan regarding Agger and Sakho. Long-term it's hard to think of Sakho as anything other than a first 11 guarantee, but after his performance at United, Agger's earned another start here. (Matt)

-Speaking of center backs, my eyes will be on Steven Caulker. Thought he's been a tremendous signing for Cardiff and I'd take him ahead of any Spurs defender, Vertonghen aside. (Matt)

-I think Allen starts. Agree that Coutinho brings a little extra final third guile, but Allen had a fantastic game at United and BR has been talking him up in the press all week. (Matt)

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