The Opposition View - Liverpool
With great thanks to our friends over at Vital Liverpool
, we ask a few questions about the game on Saturday. Gavin answers questions on our former boss Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool's likely goal threat and his prediction for the game.
--------------------------------------------------------1) In a nutshell, sum up your season so far?
A little disappointing. In many ways it has followed a similar pattern to last season; good performances which haven't got the results they deserved, especially at home. Arguably, only the Arsenal defeat was a game in which we were poor and the opponent thoroughly deserved their win.
It is still early days however and with a new manager, new style of play and a host of youngsters coming into the side, it was always going to take a little time for things to fully gel.2) Who are the player/s to look out for?
Like him or loath him you cannot keep Luis Suarez out of the headlines. Most football fans, including us, get frustrated and annoyed but his antics but there is no doubting he is one of the most gifted footballers on the planet. When he has the ball at his feet and is running at people he can be unstoppable at times.3) Despite your stuttering start to the season, where do you think you will end up?
Hopefully top six. We finished eighth last season which was our lowest final league position since 1954, so we certainly need to see an improvement on that. Another good cup run would be great - making three trips to Wembley last season was brilliant.4) Many are saying Brendan Rodgers needs time at Anfield to get the suited results, how long are you wiling to give him?
Personally I believe he should get at least until next Christmas regardless of how we do this season. The owners didn't back him as much as perhaps they should have in the summer transfer window and he obviously needs time to shape the squad to how he wants it. Having replaced managers with alarming regularity over the past few years, Rodgers will certainly get more time than most - especially as we cannot afford another hefty compensation payout!
At the moment, the fans are certainly fully supportive of Brendan Rodgers and what he is trying to build at Anfield. Despite the disappointing early results during his reign, we can see progress being made and also appreciate his slick passing style of play and the fact he is not afraid to give youngsters a chance.
Although of course, when appointed, there were some fans who questioned whether he had the quality or experience to take charge of the club but thinking long-term there is generally a quiet optimism around Merseyside.5) If you could add one more player to your team, who would it be and why?
Unsurprisingly Lionel Messi. The most gifted player of his generation and perhaps any other generation too. An amazing talent who scores goals for fun but also works hard for the team. Additionally he is a player who plays the game in the right manner both on and off the field. It is this that puts him above Cristiano Ronaldo for me.6) If you could offload any player from your team, who would it be and why?
To be honest we need to be buying players not off loading them! If I had to chose one then the obvious choice would be Stewart Downing. No league goals or assists in almost 40 games is ridiculous. To make matters worse I was a big fan previously and lauded his signing when we made it. The fact he has been given a public dressing down by Rodgers and often featured at left-back this season would suggest he may be on the move sooner rather than later. Although we will be lucky to get a quarter of the £20m paid back. 7) Expected line up for the game?
Changes had been few and far between in the league this season but we suddenly have a couple of serious injury problems. With Lucas still out, Nuri Sahin faces competition from Jonjo Shelvey, who is back from suspension, to play in midfield alongside Steven Gerrard and Joe Allen. Martin Kelly is out long term and Fabio Borini has now joined him on the sidelines meaning youngsters Andre Wisdom and Suso are likely to deputise. A lot will depend on how the players are when they return from international duty however.
Possible lineup (4-3-3): Reina, Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, Allen, Gerrard, Sahin/Shelvey, Sterling, Suarez, Suso.8) What's your prediction for the game?
Could depend on how you approach the game tactically to be honest. We often struggle to break teams down when they come to Anfield and defend, as Stoke City did in our last game. After the 5-2 win over Norwich City we expected to go on a winning run but it proved a slight false dawn with Europa League defeat and the Stoke stalemate following. Hopefully we can overcome our Anfield hoodoo and record our first home league win of the season. 2-0 Liverpool victory.
The reverse interview with Vital Liverpool can be found here