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One Last Chance Before The Lights Go Green: Liverpool v. Valencia Preview

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Welcome back home, now get it in gear.
Welcome back home, now get it in gear.

You can't get too worried when the car is still in the starting spot, and only engines are revving. But when your engine is sputtering, that's not encouraging either. So the Reds get one more chance tomorrow to finally look like a cogent outfit, and they'll get a pretty spikey opponent to do it against.

I think this is the time we should see something that will be as close to if not exactly the 11 that will run out against Sunderland a week later at Anfield. And what we're all looking for is a defense that stops wandering around as if in that Monty Python sketch where the Greek and German philosophers couldn't play until they thought of something. And clearly, our defense hasn't thought of anything. If Kenny opts for the first choice back four, it kind of picks itself. Martin Skrtel isn't fit, and has had a small setback on his ankle injury. Fabio Aurelio only just returned to training, and probably isn't ready for a start. So I think we'll see Kelly-Carragher-Agger-Johnson. However, with just how lost at sea and drowning Johnson looked defensively against Valerenga, this might not be the best either. Perhaps swap out Johnson for Flanagan or Robinson, but I doubt it. It was Johnson's first game of preseason, and he only has one way to go. You probably want to see him on Liverpool's left, as one Juan Mata tends to end up on the left of the Valencia side, Kelly is probably the more assured defender, certainly right now he is.

In midfield, well, anyone's guess. Lucas returned to training this week, but I doubt he's going to be ready to start a match. We know there'll be two holding midfielders, and we pretty much know that'll be Jay Spearing and Charlie Adam. However, it would be nice to see them "hold" instead of "watch", which they did against the Norwegian side. Whether they're in a 4-2-3-1 or part of a 4-3-3? Can't tell you, no idea. What I'd like most? The two of them behind Alberto Aquilani, Jordan Henderson, and Stewart Downing (I assume Raul Meireles still won't be seen). Look, the drama with Aquilani has gotten tiresome beyond all belief. If he's just being put in the shop window, then give him 90 against quality opponents to prove how ready he is. If he replicates what he did for 20 minutes in Oslo, that will only help the selling cause. Or he might just prove that he's the best option in the squad right now, and Liverpool will be a better team with him. Whether that's what we get is probably unlikely. Most likely Kuyt is in the lineup ahead of him.

Andy Carroll will spearhead whatever formation they opt for, with Luis Suarez not even returning to training until Monday. Other than the defense, the most important thing to me tomorrow is to not see the insistence of getting the ball wide and firing cross and after cross hoping to find the pirate-skull of Andy Carroll. While that is a weapon to be utilized, it should be part of a bigger arsenal. Let's begin to see if Carroll fits into a passing and moving side or not. We don't need to be Fifa 12 in live action.

We've been asking questions all week, let's start to see some answers.