Chris Hughton's regular assessment of our forthcoming opponents - next up, Liverpool at the Lane on Saturday.
LIVERPOOL changed their shape against Blackburn on Boxing Day when they went with three centre-halves - Daniel Agger, a young player they rate very highly, Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher.
The two wide players were Jon-Arne Riise and Steve Finnan and that’s normal, Finnan has been first-choice right-back for some time now and they have options at left-back with Fabiano Aurelio.
In midfield, Xabi Alonso is one of the best passers in the Premiership and Steven Gerrard has played a more central role, one of many he can play, and they have a number of options up front.
They are in good form, they are confident and they have players they can change around from Blackburn. If you look at the bench at Ewood Park, there’s Dirk Kuyt, a player Martin knows very well and a player who has been an instant hit in the Premiership. They also have Peter Crouch, Craig Bellamy, Robbie Fowler, Jermaine Pennant and Luis Garcia in forward areas.
Crouchy’s enjoyed a fine 2006, but he’s a good player, I would say one of few players in the league who can give a team something different. He has ability on the floor, we’re all aware of that, but you always have the threat of him getting his head on something and scoring a goal or creating one for someone else.
Liverpool are creating a lot of chances and before Blackburn, scoring a lot of goals as well. They are capable of scoring goals and the squad, for me, is one of the strongest.
So we expect an exciting game on Saturday. They will want to push on and we will be looking to maintain our record at home.