KICKOFF: 10am EST, 3pm BST
TV: FSC + for those who have it, Foxsoccer.tv for those who don't
I was having a good morning. The first snow was on the ground, which always provides a bit of energy around the place. Decided to lie in bed for a little while longer. Made a good breakfast. And then I remembered something, and all that good feeling washed away. What was it you may ask? It occurred to me that Neil Warnock will be in the opposition dugout tomorrow. Now you understand why all those positive vibes were washed away in one swoop.
Is there a more unpleasant man in the game than Warnock? Sure, there are angrier and more assholic, but no one complains to the level while still fellating himself more than Warnock. I'm sure he's convinced that if it wasn't for all the people who were out to get him, he'd be the love child of Brian Clough and Alex Ferguson, with a bit of Aristotle thrown in (just guessing, but I bet ol' Stots probably could have worked out how to be a pretty good manager if he had to. Certainly would have made the Greek side less dour than they are). He's still bitching about Sheffield United's relegation, which he's somehow blaming on Liverpool and their fielding of a weakened side to Fulham two weeks before a Champions League Final. We'll just ignore all the god awful results that got United there in the first place, shall we? It's all Rafa's fault.
If Warnock and Sam Allardyce were dropped off at the South Pole with no food, I wouldn't complain. They bitch, they moan, they never take any of the blame when their team loses, and when they win they can't wait to tell you what geniuses they are. Which is why together they've managed to get a team into Europe, what...once? Oh sure, they'll tell you it was because they were never given a chance at a big club, except for that whole Newcastle thing.
But Warnock won't be on the pitch, and Liverpool have had enough trouble dispatching teams they should beat as it is. QPR are about as schizo as their manager is, capable of beating Chelsea but also capable of getting thumped by Bolton and Fulham. However, they've managed three wins away from West London, so they're no pushovers. The one thing I'll give Warnock, however grudgingly, is that QPR do try and play some stuff, and I wouldn't expect that to change much tomorrow, if only because Warnock's arrogance will lead him to believe they can go toe-to-toe and end-to-end with Liverpool. Possibly. Would explain the occasional donkey punch they receive.
With Taraabt out and presumably complaining even more than Warnock, it's an easy guess at their lineup. Leading scorer Heidar Helguson up front, Shaun "I'm only here cuz of my dad and one good season at City" Wright-Phillips and Joey "Most Interesting Man In The World Next To Balotelli" Barton supporting from wide. Fuarlin and Derry holding, and either Boothroyd partnering Helguson or Jamie Mackie providing more support in midfield. The experienced back line is made up of not-quite were's in Armand Traorie, Luke Young, Anton Ferdinand, and Daniel Gabbidon. QPR are down to their third choice keeper Brian Murphy, who will be the next to make a great save on Stewart Downing.
As easy as that lineup is to guess, you can forget it if you think I'll try and stab at Kenny Dalglish's 11 tomorrow. I can give you Reina and the back four, same as it was at Fulham. Past that? There's no defensive midfielder to choose, so either Adam or Henderson could flail at it. Maxi can provide goals, but has a tough time getting a look in the league. Bellamy is never a sure thing to get two games in a week in. Suarez for sure starts, but with Carroll? Does Shelvey make a return? If Carroll starts doesn't Downing have to? I have no idea. We'll find out together.
I'm tired of writing this, but there are no excuses tomorrow. At home, against a team not that likely to park the bus who will leave space. There is no margin for error now, there are too many teams jostling for the prized spots to lose any more ground. This stretch of games, all the points need to be gathered to earn some leeway when the tougher matches of January show up. Even 1 or 2-0 won't really suit me. I want the hammering that Liverpool have promised a lot but never delivered.
And delivering it to Warnock would get the weekend off to a wonderful start.
I'll have a gamethread up right before kickoff, and also follow me on Twitter during the match @anfieldasylum. I'm quite witty via Tweet.