To say we’re due some luck against Liverpool would be an understatement.
It’s been 8 consecutive Premier League defeats since promotion and we’ve experienced a high degree of pain and misfortune in some of those matches.
The most recent debacle at Anfield cost us our place in the fourth round of the cup (albeit we have nobody to blame but ourselves for the toothless showing in the replay).
A couple of pivotal games follow against teams around us, so it would be a serious morale boost to pocket a result. With a beefed-up squad of players, I’m expecting us to at least run them close.
Things haven’t improved for Jurgen Klopp since they snaffled that win at Molineux the other week. A stalemate against Chelsea (that they were somewhat lucky to get) was followed up by another defeat at Brighton to end their own aspirations of FA Cup glory.
The injury list also continues to expand with Ibrahima Konate ruled out for a few weeks with a hamstring injury. He joins van Dijk, Jota, Firmino and Diaz on the sidelines – a considerable amount of talent they need to get back on the pitch asap.
With the Champions League their only remaining chance of silverware they could have done without drawing Real Madrid. Even with a fully fit squad, that would be a considerable ask.
Making the top four already seems a stretch based on their own inconsistency and the 10-point gap they would have to close on teams currently playing much better football.
Can their deterioration be distilled down to the loss of Sadio Mane and some injuries? Possibly. They were practically unbeatable towards the end of last season so it just shows how quickly things can change when you lose rhythm and key personnel.
I was a touch surprised that nobody else left towards the end of the transfer window, but am delighted that Lopetegui now has options right across the pitch.
If Dawson does come straight into the side, I’ve assumed Collins might be sacrificed on the basis he’s right-footed, but either he or Kilman could drop out.
I’m not expecting to see Joao Gomes tomorrow but will be interested to see how he’s integrated in the weeks ahead. Based on his profile, he’d certainly change the dynamic of the midfield.
Daniel Podence can count himself unlucky to have been left out against City and I can’t believe he’ll be on the sidelines again. Sarabia has a strong scoring record and if Cunha is indeed the centre forward we’re putting our trust in, he really needs to get a run of games.
Well done to Sutton Coldfield wolf, Wokywolf, Aussiewolf and PeteRobbo who all correctly predicted a three-zip tonking at the Etihad.
Rich remains 5 points clear at the top of the overall table at the end of Gameweek 20.
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Up The Wolves!