By Christopher Boulay
The Reds return from international break beaten up and shorthanded, but with a match against recently promoted Reading, there may be some way to help the club continue to improve its standing.
Liverpool’s international break did not go as planned, as multiple players picked up knocks. The worst of the injuries was forward and Italian international Fabio Borini, who broke his foot in training. Pepe Reina is questionable to participate in the match against the Royals with a hamstring issue, which could put Australian international Brad Jones in net.
If Jones does start, there won’t likely be an all-Australian keeper battle, as his compatriot Adam Federici is likely out with a knee injury, but has also been replaced by Alex McCarthy as the Royals’ number one keeper.
With Borini out of the picture, Liverpool’s front three could consist of Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez and Suso, who recently signed a new contract with the club. Whoever fills the spot will need to make an immediate impact, as the squad only scored three goals so far during the league season.
Reading has started off the season terribly, with only three points from six matches. The club was projected by many to have a difficult time staying up, and at this juncture, there is not much to prove that notion wrong. However, with Liverpool’s own struggles this season, there could be a window of opportunity for the Berkshire-based club to get its first win of the season.
There has been much discussion about the Reds’ own slow start, but a win against Norwich City, along with a point against Stoke City, helped build a foundation for a climb back into relevancy. Three points on Saturday could leave the club in a strong position to make up significant ground when the Reds face-off against Everton next week.
The last time the two clubs faced off was at Anfield in the 2010 FA Cup. After going 1-0 down, the Royals came back to equalize before taking the win in extra time.
Liverpool v Reading
When: Saturday, October 20, 1000 EST/1500 GMT
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Previous Premier League match: Liverpool 0-0 Stoke City, Swansea 2-2 Reading
League Position 2011-12: Liverpool 14th (6 points), Reading 18th (3 points)
Projected Reading Starting 11
DEF: Cummings, Gorkss, Mariappa, Shorey
MID: Kebe, Robson-Kanu, Karacan, McAnuff
FW: Roberts, le Fondre
Subs from: Taylor, Guthrie, Tabb, Leigertwood, McCleary, Hunt, Pogrebnyak, Pearce
Projected Liverpool Starting 11
DEF: Enrique, Agger, Skrtel, Johnson
MID: Gerrard, Allen, Sahin
FW: Sterling, Suarez, Suso
Subs from: Reina, Gulacsi, Flanagan, Wisdom, Coates, Carragher, Robinson, Cole, Henderson, Shelvey, Downing, Assaidi, Morgan, Yesil
Interact: What’s your projected lineup and final score prediction? Comment below.