Cole could be back for tomorrow nights tie...
It's quite clear that Liverpool have a European history to be proud of but will Steaua Bucharest tomorrow night look back on the match as an achievement or will the beams of jealously begin to emerge as Liverpool get off the starting blocks in the group stages of the Europa League.
With the match being shown on channel 5, the KO at 5 past 8, it's a game that will be watched by many a Red. With the pressure on from all of the onlooking kopites can Liverpool get the win desired to send us on our way.
Of course, any team you welcome to Anfield you have to fancy our chances but in particular when it is European opposition. This is no Olympiakos in the Champions League but you can still guarantee an atmosphere.
Roy is still unable to select both Dirk Kuyt and Fabio Aurelio due to their injuries but has choice of the rest of his squad. Joe Cole is of course also available due to his match ban not being applicable in this competition. Joe has now served his 3 match ban so will also be available for Roy on Sunday.
Romanians Steaua Bucharest are the most successful club to come from the land of the roma. They are also the first team from Eastern Europe to win the Champions League. So to cut a long story short, they know their way around a football game.
Sometimes i feel it's dangerous to under estimate opposition but at the same time, over evaluating them can damage your performance. Liverpool need to go into this game with freedom and confidence.
We last met with Steaua in the 03/04 season when Houllier saw us progress through the UEFA Cup after a Harry Kewell goal. Our overall record against the Romanian side reads: 8wins, 2draws and 1 loss.
Steaua aren't spectacular on their travels and haven't won away in Europe in four games. Despite this i think their calibre and style of play still should ring warning bells and the Reds should be weary of slipping up in a silly draw.
With Manchester United on the weekend it may be a different side fielded by Hodgson, a side capable of winning but perhaps not containing all of the regulars. With a few options to consider in midfield i.e. Poulsen, Lucas, Meireles, Gerrard and also the options on the wing what with Cole being available, it will be interesting to see who Roy chooses to start.
With all of this in mind i'm going to have to punt for a 2-1 win for Liverpool tomorrow. Hopefully that scoreline includes one in the back of the net for Torres, just to warm him up for when he's running rings around Vidic on Sunday afternoon.
Just to end on folks, if any of you have a second to spare could you please stop by and vote for me in the "GoldenTwit" awards...
Not usually one to involve myself in these sort of things but after a follower nominated me i had a sense of well why not ay?
Much appreciated! Here's the link... http://www.goldentwits.com/user/LFCKirstyLFC