Liverpool face Reading for the second time tomorrow night at Anfield in the hope that take two will be enough to break the earlier deadlock between the two clubs. With the winner progressing and facing Burnley at home for the next fixture, the prospect of challenging for the FA Cup is becoming more and more realistic.
Benitez fielded a very strong 11 for the last meeting, and opted to keep in Reina, Carragher, Gerrard and Torres. I should imagine that it will be a similar team put out from the Gaffa again for this replay, Benitez has made it clear that he is taking the competition seriously and is determined to mount a respectable challenge.
Liverpool appeared to struggle slightly against Reading last time out but this was mainly down to a belief filled Royals side who also had the home advantage. You get the feeling that at Anfield, we will come out victorious.
With a draw leading to extra time and then penalties, i would always fancy ourselves in that situation, so the only option for me of devastation is if Reading manage to win within the 90minutes.
Goal wise, we are fully capable, defence wise? I still feel uneasy, although there has been clear improvements, with Johnson out and Insua being a bit shaky of late, it does make you think twice.
Reading have made two new signings so far in the transfer window - Andy Griffin and Gunnar Thorvaldsson however neither will feature for the replay as they were not registered for the first leg. Injury wise Reading still have 6 players either undergoing treatment or only just coming back into training.
Top goalscorers Sigurdsson and Rasiak should both be available along with scorer from the last meeting Simon Church.
Liverpool are without NEZ, Kelly and Johnson. Although some good news in the fact the Albert Riera should be available.
- Liverpool have won all three meetings against Reading at Anfield.
- Reading have only kept one clean sheet in their last 19 games (all competitions).
- Liverpool have only ever lost one penalty shoot out in their history.
It would be great to watch the lads have a really good game and do it in style, complete with clean sheet and 2+ goal tally but realistically i can see Reading finding the net again if i am honest, and by that my prediction is a 2-1 win.
Part of me actually wants it to go to extra time and penalties just for entertainment value, but I'll take a win whichever way it comes.