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Livorno Return To The San Siro

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Serie A, Round 23
Who: Inter Milan vs. Livorno
When: Saturday, February 16th 10:00 am ET
Where: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

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Livorno return to the San Siro 3 days after playing Milan to a 1-1 draw. Inter Milan travel home from Sicily after beating Catania 2-0 in what turned out to be yet another controversial match. With a mouth-watering slew of Champions League games right around the corner, which include the Nerazzuri taking on Benitez’s Reds, many expect Inter to rest some of their more "impact" players, I feel the same way. However, having a big game a few days after this league clash in no excuse for throwing it away, and I really hope they don't.

With Roma taking on Juve this weekend, the most probable thing that will come out of that is a draw. If that happens, and we win, we push our lead to 10, and the Scudetto race is basically over. The reason why this game scares me, much like the Catania game did but not for the same reasons, is because Livorno is the football version of Jacklyn Hyde.

Here's some statistics, they lost to Juve 3-1 at home, they lost to Palmero 1-0 away, they tied Genoa at home, then somehow they pulled a tie out of their asses against Milan away. Also, they basically play the same way they do at home as they do when their away. (One more win away, but they also have one more loss away. Same amount of goals against, but one more goal for away.) You see what I mean? Their a very unpredictable team. And that's the most dangerous thing for Inter right now, a unpredictable team from the bottom of the table, especially with a Champions League game coming up. It's not going to be someone from the upper half of the table that will knock them off their pedestal, it's going to be someone like Livorno. Be aware.

Positional Standings:

Inter are in 1st with 56 points, 8 points clear of 2nd place Roma.
Livorno are in 15th with 23 points, 1 point behind 12th place Torino.

Injuries:

Inter: Don't expect to see Olivier Dacourt, Walter Samuel, Aparecido Cesar, and Luis Jimenez on the pitch on Saturday. Oh yeah, Mr. Idiot Patrick Vieira is still suspended.

P.S. Shit, Jimy's out. I hope it's just for precautionary reasons because of the CL game, and not something serious. On the positive side, Figo doesn't seem to be on the injury list. Will he play? I hope so.

Livorno: Martin Bergvold, Giuliano Giannichedda, and Francesco Volpe are all injured. While Francesco Tavano's injury will sadly (for Livorno fans) keep him out of Saturday's clash.

Probable Lineups:

Inter:
Julio Cesar;
Maicon, Burdisso, Materazzi, Maxwell;
Zanetti, Pelé, Cambiasso, Stankovic(I love ya' Stank, but I really want to see Figo here tomorrow. So please, step aside and let the Portuguese Pleasure work his magic. Thanks.);
Crespo, Suazo

Obviously gets moved to a 4-4-2 due to the absence of Jimy. Also, I see The Great One getting some rest. Oh, and if you were wondering, yes I gave Figo a nickname. Portuguese Pleasure, it really rolls off the tounge. PP for short.

Livorno:
Amelia;
Grandoni, Knezevic, Galante;
Balleri, Pulzetti, De Vezze, A. Filippini, Pasquale;
Diamanti, Bogdani

Players To Keep An Eye On:

Marco Amelia : Probably Livorno's best player, so that means he won't be staying much longer. We know he has some skills, but I have a feeling that he'll get a good amount of action in this one, so it may be his time to shine. Let's see if he can show off a bit and finally get his ticket out of Tuscany.

David Suazo : I basically attribute last weeks win to this guy. Before he came on the pitch it seemed so damn crowded, then he comes in, wala, the pitch is more open than a Jewish community after sundown. (Sorry about that.) Oh and by the way, I never congratulated the Big Boss on the great sub. Bravo. (That one was for you, kirby.) For the first time since his first game, I'm actually excited to see him play. It's an awkward feeling. C'mon Davey, don't disappoint me.

Erjon Bogdani: Time is running out for this 30 year-old. With Tavano out, he's getting another chance in a rather big match. Most may remember him for the 2004/05 season when he scored 11 with Siena. Since then, he's done shit. Who knows what we'll see on Saturday.

Key Matchups:

Davey vs. Himself: Add him to the list of guys with amazing natural ability and talent, but no luck/work ethic at all. (I'm mainly talking about Fatty and Talentino). The only person that stops this guy is himself, he's just a complete head case. However after seeing him last game, he may have turned the page. (At least, that's what I see in my dreams.) If he can play well in this game, we may be seeing him more then we expected in the CL.

Amelia vs. Inter's Shots: Amelia is nasty, there's no way around it. He also wants a ticket out of Tuscany, there's no way around it. Combine those two facts with a big stage like the San Siro, and Inter may have a problem on their hands. I don't see us beating him from long range, or any set pieces, so I think we'll have to create some havoc in the box. Suazo's specialty.

Big Boss vs. The CL: It's going to be interesting to see how he handles this match. Obviously he wants to continue winning in the Serie A, but at what cost. What will he tell the guys, get an early lead then settle back, or forget about the upcoming CL clash and take it one game at a time. Truthfully, I like the first option. A win is a win, whether you win by 1 or 100. But I'm not the coach, he is, so we'll have to just wait and see.

Prediction:

Again, do to the Jacklyn Hyde personality of Livorno, I can' really put my finger on this one. They may come out, and just play flat, (Especially since they have a few big players out.) or they can come out and really gives us a battle. Truthfully, I think the Big Boss is praying that Livorno doesn't come out looking for a battle, because that's just the thing that Inter doesn't need.

My dream game would be a quick goal, then sit back and keep possession. No need to get involved in a scrappy game. Maybe even put in another one on a counter attack. (I'm feeling some craziness from Max.)

Inter win it, 2-0.