Armchair Gaffer: Should Alberto Aquilani start for Liverpool against Arsenal?

Ollie Irish

11th, December 2009



“Rafa, remember me?”

Alberto Aquilani has told the Liverpool Daily Post that he is desperate to play against Arsenal this weekend:

“I need to play, play, play because I’m in a new team, and I need games now. My ankle is fine now, I feel good, and now I need to work hard in training for my body. I really hope I can play against Arsenal.”

Aquilani played against Fiorentina earlier this week, his full debut for Liverpool. He looked tidy but perhaps still not 100 per cent fit, and definitely not match-fit. But of course, the only way to get match-fit is, er, to play more matches. Hence the Italian’s plea to Rafa Benitez.

What will Rafa do? Knowing Benitez as we all do, it’s likely that Aquilani will drop to the bench to make room for Lucas, who was not even on Liverpool’s bench on Wednesday. Arsenal is a massive game for Liverpool and Rafa will probably err on the side of caution. However, a a game against the pass-happy Gunners actually seems tailor made for Aquilani, who, as Benitez himself admitted, was not risked against Blackburn and Everton because of the physical nature of the opponents. If not now, when?

What would you do? Would you start Aquilani or drop him to the bench?