my liverpool fc

Forex Live Market Analysis 2010

Most Reliable Sport Betting Prediction
Make Huge Affiliate Commission with RSS Content

Rafael Benitez to guard against slow recovery

Rafael Benitez to guard against slow recovery

By Stewart Robson, Sunday Telegraph Liverpool v Chelsea

Today 4pm Sky Sports 1

Despite Steven Gerrard damaging his toe in midweek, Rafael Benitez looks set to include him in his starting XI today. Playing in central midfield, Gerrard was outstanding against Premier League opponents Aston Villa and Toulouse in the Champions League. He was dynamic when running with the ball, passed with penetration and continually made threatening forward runs. To cap his performance against Villa, he scored with a match-winning free-kick.

However, while manager Rafael Benitez will be delighted with Gerrard's potency, he will have been concerned that he showed less enthusiasm to make recovery runs. This is not a problem for Liverpool when he is one of three in central midfield, but with Jermaine Pennant and John Arne Riise playing in such advanced positions, as they did against Villa, it left just Xavi Alonso patrolling the midfield. Alonso may be an excellent passer of the ball but he is not athletic enough to protect large areas. The same happened in Toulouse, only with different personnel.

Rafael  Benitez to guard against slow recovery
Captain's example: Steven Gerrard could play with his toe injury

Villa and Toulouse were not good enough to take advantage but today's opponents are. For these reasons, Benitez has continually declined to play Gerrard in a two-man midfield.

Chelsea are masters at breaking quickly from defence and this is largely due to the positions that their wide players break into when possession is regained. These positions are infield and into the areas vacated either side of the holding midfield player.

Benitez will not want to interfere with Gerrard's forward play but he has to think of the team's solidity. So I cannot envisage Benitez asking his wide players to be quite as adventurous in their positional play. But if he does, then one way of safeguarding that area would be for his full-backs to support attacks from an infield rather than an outside position, thus staying in contact with Chelsea's wingers.

Yet Chelsea were equally open to the counter-attack against Birmingham last Sunday. Manager Jose Mourinho played with two strikers, two wide players and Frank Lampard breaking forward in a similar fashion to Gerrard. All eyes have been on Fernando Torres since his move to Liverpool and, against Villa, he demonstrated good attributes. After a slow start, he created a chance for himself following indecision in Villa's rearguard. Striding on to a loose ball, he controlled it quickly and fired a left-foot volley over the bar. Despite the inaccuracy of his finish, it showed his speed of thought and deceptive pace. He doesn't play right up against centre-halves but finds space short of them, or makes runs beyond them if they come out of their defensive line to mark him.

For any front player to be really successful he has to form a good understanding with his fellow striker. The telepathic understanding between John Toshack and Kevin Keegan - and between Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush - made them almost unstoppable. With the advent of squad rotation and lone strikers, forwards have struggled to create similar partnerships. The early signs look encouraging for the combination of Torres and Dirk Kuyt.

Playing slightly deeper, Kuyt can link up the play while Torres seems aware of where to find space through clever movement. The first goal against Villa was a product of the two linking up. One-twos, letting the ball run for each other and combination play between strikers will always cause problems but they need to play together as often as possible to gain that understanding. But will Benitez, who rotated his forwards again last week, give them that opportunity?

The injury to Ricardo Carvalho is a blow for Chelsea even if John Terry and Alex are now available for selection. Today should have provided the opportunity to compare Carvalho to Jamie Carragher. Carvalho and Carragher are brilliant readers of the game, always ready to intercept or make last-ditch clearances. Carragher may lack technical ability and genuine pace but his understanding of the game more than makes up for it as it does in Carvalho's case for a lack of physical presence.

Team details (probable)

Liverpool: Liverpool: Reina; Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Riise; Pennant, Gerrard, Alonso, Arbeloa; Kuyt, Torres. Chelsea: Cech; Ferreira, Terry, Ben Haim, A Cole; Wright-Phillips, Lampard, Mikel, Malouda; Drogba, Pizarro.


0 Responses to “Rafael Benitez to guard against slow recovery”

Post a Comment



  • MySolveware
  • I Love Kuala Lumpur
  • Online Exam Tips
  • Shrek 3 Wallpaper
  • Miss Universe 2007 Pic
  • Kuala Lumpur Hotel
  • Funny Picture


Powered by Blogger

make money online blogger templates

© 2006 my liverpool fc | Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
Learn how to make money online | First Aid and Health Information at Medical Health