Liverpool’s Rest of the World Round 3: Preview

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You will be able to tell who has been watching every game of the next round World Cup group games, as there will be an army of Marty Feldman’s everywhere you go. This is because we are being treated to two games simultaneously, twice per day until Thursday, leaving Friday to remind us what life was like before this football all-you-can-eat started.

LFC World Cup Stars copy 2

Here is a look at which Liverpool players you might see play:

Pepe Reina – Spain vs Australia – 23rd June 17:00 kick off

Like in 2010, we will see the reigning world champions going home early, after the Spanish lost both of their group stage matches against Netherlands and Chile. It may still be a bit too soon to write off the tiki-taka philosophy so soon, but it almost seems inevitable that the sight of Iker Casillas in a Spain shirt may become as rare as seeing him in a Real Madrid one.

Will we see the 33 year old replaced for the final game of La Roja’s tournament? If we do, despite David de Gea coming out on top with 97% in a recent vote carried out by MARCA, it is said that a leg injury will see him miss out, meaning that Pepe Reina would go in goal. As mentioned in the previous round preview, it is hard to see the Liverpool goalkeeper do a worse job than Casillas, but I can’t help but feel the skipper will at least be given one last hurrah before the Spanish national squad has a shake up.

Luis Suárez and Sebastián Coates – Uruguay vs Italy – 24th June 17:00 kick off

He was once again his nation’s hero as Luis Suárez dished up ice cold revenge, silencing those who once booed him, as he stuck two past Joe Hart and all but ended England’s tournament on Thursday night.

Next up for Uruguay is a crunch match against Italy, which, after the Azzurri’s 1-0 defeat to Costa Rica, means the winner of this fixture will go through to the knock out stages. A few fans may have been fearing the worst when El Pistolero hobbled off the pitch against England but it is said that he will be fit to start.

As for Sebastián Coates, it is unlikely that he will start in such an important game, especially as another youngster, Atletico Madrid’s José María Giménez, was preferred over the 6 foot 5 defender when skipper Diego Lugano was ruled out.

Kolo Touré – Ivory Coast vs Greece – 24th June 21:00 kick off

Ivory Coast are very much in the driving seat to grab the runners up spot in Group D, with only Greece, a side yet to register a goal in the tournament, in the way.

During the Les Éléphants encounter with group leaders Colombia, defender Didier Zokora was given a second yellow card in two games, meaning the former Spurs man will miss out in the clash, leaving a space for Liverpool defender Kolo Touré to fill in. However, following the death of Ibrahima Touré, younger brother of Kolo and Yaya, it is still in the air whether the two will face the Galanolefki.

Mamadou Sakho – France vs Ecuador – 25th June 21:00 kick off

The attacking displays of Didier Deschamps’ French side have been the toast of the tournament thus far in this writer’s eyes, as they have blown away a Honduras side, whose physically would make Vinnie Jones wince, three-nil, and a Swiss side, which isn’t exactly a pushover, by five goals to two.

But one understated component of the team has been it’s defence, which includes Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho. Partnering Madrid’s Raphaël Varane, the two have formed a solid base, meaning the rest of the side can attack, safe in the knowledge that the two will sweep up anything that comes their way, especially Sakho in his own fashion.

It is also worth noting that before being substituted, the “awkward looking” Frenchman left the field with the highest pass completion rate of anybody else, with 93%.

There were a few concerns when the former PSG man went off, with fears of another hamstring injury, but it has been revealed that it was merely a precaution, meaning Sakho could start in the final game of the group stages.

Simon Mignolet – Belgium vs Korea Republic – 26th June 21:00 kick off

The two opening performances from Belgium have left many thinking that the team looks far from convincing and you wouldn’t blame Marc Wilmots for wanting to experiment with the wealth of talent in his squad.

Despite how they have doe it, they have gained six points out of six to see them through the knockout stages; but with Algeria’s win over South Korea, it is yet to be confirmed that they will finish in first place.

Because of this, it is hard to see the coach shuffling the pack too much for the final game of the group stage, and I suspect the back five will remain as it started today – minus the injured Thomas Vermaelen – meaning that Liverpool’s stopper Simon Mignolet will once again be enjoying the encounter from the bench.

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