It’s been a busy ten days for Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez since the game was called off a week last Friday and he has been back home to Spain to bring in two more new recruits.
The first of these is Argentinian defender Mauricio Pellegrino who has arrived from Benitez’ previous club Valencia and later in the week forward Fernando Morientes finally completed his £6.3 million move from Real Madrid.
Both of them made their debuts on Saturday in the one game they have played since the cup tie should have gone ahead, that was at Anfield in a 1-0 defeat against fierce rivals Manchester United. That was just a nice pleasant warm up for tonight’s game.
Neither of the two new signings will play tonight, even though the competition rules have been relaxed this year with the scrapping of the seven day rule players still have to be signed before the original date for the tie.
They probably wouldn’t have played in any case – Benitez won’t be fielding anything like a full strength side. There certainly won’t be any sign of one of the country’s top players Steven Gerrard who will be resting tonight and other first choice players will also be left out of a tie that the
He said yesterday that finishing fourth in the Premiership is considerably more important than the FA Cup and as such will be fielding a young side. We can expect to see David Raven, John Welsh, Stephen Warnock, Zak Whitbread, Neil Mellor and Darren Potter are all expected to start while Mark Smyth and Paul Harrison are likely to be used as substitutes.
Benitez does not rate us, or our league, and said this morning, “If you play against a First Division team (he’s not aware of the change of name) then you should be able to play young players because they should have the quality to play against that level.”
The only other name definitely pencilled in for
As for the Clarets I think it is fair to see that we are depleted and it looks as though both Michael Duff and Graham Branch will miss the tie. It is a massive blow for Branchy who is a
Two other Clarets, John McGreal and Ian Moore, are also big fans and they will get the chance to play against them tonight.
We are likely to line up:
Paul Scott, Matt O’Neill and coach Mark Yates will be on the bench as will Joel Pilkington if he recovers from injury but that looks to be about it.
Mark Clattenburg will again be in charge tonight but there will be no sign of assistant
Last Saturday’s referee Michael Jones was the fourth official originally but tonight it is Premiership referee Howard Webb from
He sent off Paul Weller but appeared to hand over refereeing duties to Dennis Wise for much of the afternoon while not even managing to hear any of the abuse directed at Mo Camara.
Our half time guest will again be Ian Brennan who was all ready for action with his wellies on last time.
See below for the preview, the referee, and Ian Brennan from ten days ago.