KICKOFF: 11:30am EST, 4:30 BST
TV: FSC in the States
I think a football match having absolutely nothing to do with the last one is probably what we all need at this point, and Liverpool get one. A second straight home tie in the FA Cup, this time hosting the Carling Cup conquered Brighton. Win this one, and it's completely acceptable to start dreaming of a domestic Cup double, as Liverpool would only be a match away from a second trip to Wembley. But only because the FA has to play the semifinals there to pay off the stadium that they probably didn't really need anyway. Such genius thinking there.
Brighton have been the flaming torch since the calendar changed. They haven't lost, including rubbing Championship leader Southampton's ass in the moonshine to the tune of 3-0. They've dispatched Newcastle in this competition already, though that was at home, so this isn't the cut and dried task that playing a lower division side can be. As we saw in the other Cup, if you allow them Brighton have a couple players who can get spiky. Buckley and Mackail-Smith can be creative, and Liverpool had better not sleep on them. That Barnsley disaster isn't so far in the rear view that we don't all remember it.
As for Liverpool, I doubt that Kenny Dalglish will field anything too far removed from a full strength lineup. A) he's taken the Cups very seriously, as he should and B) he'll know the only tonic for all the puss and sepsis that is surrounding the club after last weekend's....what have ya will be a win. So he's going to go after it. There's a week to rest after it before the Carling Cup Final, so fatigue shouldn't really enter into it.
I'd expect the full strength defense, with only Enrique possibly sitting as he looked off against United. That probably means Martin Kelly coming in with Glen Johnson flipping over to the left. Not something I've really warmed up to but really the only option.
Midfield, as always, depends on if Liverpool field Suarez and Carroll as a striking pair or just two-thirds of a front three. We know Gerrard and Spearing will start. Whether they have Henderson or Adam with them depends on the first part. Personally, I'd like to see Henderson behind Bellamy-Carroll-Suarez, but that's not something Dalglish has tried too often and probably won't here. More likely is a 4-4-2 with Gerrard and Spearing alone, and some combo of Kuyt, Maxi, and Bellamy out wide. You can almost forget Stewart Downing getting a look, because quite frankly we know what that looks like and Kenny doesn't want us to keep putting bullets through our TV.
The last time these two met, Brighton spent the first 45 giving Liverpool far too much respect, and really the Reds should have had it sewn up before the orange wedges. They won't do that this time, even if it is at Anfield. They'll press and harry and try to play some stuff themselves. Liverpool are going to have to move the ball quickly and efficiently, which they can do. If they do that, they'll open up some chances, from there it's just a matter of being ruthless. But that's been the problem, no?
I'll have a gamethread open here, and Bromantic will be handling the Twitter feed as i can't watch live. Check both.