Thursday, August 28, 2008

Living on borrowed time

How long can Liverpool keep this up? Not very, and if they don't watch it (i.e. get Mascherano in on Sunday at Villa to help calm the waters), there could be a shocking spanking in their near future.

They play United at Anfield in 17 days, and if for nothing else than peace of mind, Rafa should figure out a way to, you know, actually score against them. It hasn't happened in the league since Benitez took over. If it doesn't happen Sept. 13, especially if Gerrard rushes back from this "minor" groin surgery and plays in that match, the self-doubt will creep back into their minds.

Back to Mascherano. Yes, he's not an attacking player, but he covers so many of his teammates' asses out there. He's everywhere – at all times – in Liverpool's half, and it's struck me since the first leg in Liege that they've missed him. Mascherano handles so many of the little things here and there, he frees up the other forward players to really go for it. They will miss Gerrard, of course, but he might return for United. Essentially, if the groin heals properly, they'll just have to figure out a way to take care of business in one game without Gerrard – against Villa. But this winning it "at the death" approach will kill them. They've done it three in a row now, and Villa is a step above their opponents to this point. Either Liverpool plays as though they "get it" come Sunday, or there could be a stunning slap to their hopes going into the international break.

Also, how about the shift this guy puts in?

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