Opposition view: Liverpool
By Ric Turner, Mon 02 January 2012 10:52
Ahead of tomorrow night's game at The Etihad, Bluemoon caught up with Andy from Red and White Kop to get the lowdown on the opposition:
Who are Liverpool’s key players?
Pepe Reina – for me he’s the best goalkeeper in the PL – (closely followed by pretty much every opposition keeper we’ve come up against this year, including Joe Hart!) His performances have been tremendous, keeping us in many matches, and he has been a committed leader on the pitch too, he clearly understands how much the club means to the fans.
Lucas – has been a key player this season and last, and in my opinion we are really missing him at the moment. He took a lot of grief in his early days at the club and was most unfairly made a scapegoat by a large number of fans for poor team performances.
Steven Gerrard - A fit Gerrard will be like (forgive the cliché) ‘a new signing’ when he returns for the second half of the season, a born leader who will hopefully inject a little more attack to our game, and turn results like last night’s draw into wins.
Luis Suarez – a top, top class player who is in my opinion is taking a lot of very unfair stick right now and much of that I feel is because he is such a talented player. To read comments like “I don’t care if he’s actually guilty or not, I’m just glad he’s banned so he won’t play against us” makes me very sad for our society. He’s no angel admittedly, but I do feel the British press have been quick to vilify him post World Cup and the FA to make a scapegoat out of another LFC player –remember Mascherano being the first of many who would be banned for daring to question a referee’s decisions? That RESPECT campaign has worked out well hasn’t it? I’ve lost count of the number of players I see tell referees to “f*ck off” each and every week in the PL.
Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?
On the whole, yes, and most definitely a resounding yes when compared to last summer – (two words, Paul Konchesky).
Enrique and Bellamy have been great signings, representing excellent value for money, as well as what they have given on the pitch too and added to the team. Charlie Adam has surprised me to be honest – he has had some very good games but for my money gets a little lost sometimes. Most recently his set pieces (you know, the ones worth £10m alone, according to Slur Alex) have been a little lacklustre, to say the least.
Downing – I was really excited by when he signed – (Liverpool have been crying out for decent attacking wingers for the last few years) but for me he has yet to recapture the sort of form showed at Villa last couple of years, I really hope he has a great LFC career though. Henderson and Coates I am confident will really flourish given time. I have to be honest at this point and say I was gutted to lose out on Phil Jones in the summer though – I think he is going to be a superb player.
What are your expectations for this season?
I think we have a great chance of our first trophy for a few years if we can overcome City – and I am hoping that despite your squad depth, it is likely that your priorities will lie with the league/FA cup games either side of our two legs and we might just have the edge.
Premier League – I would love to say fourth but realistically need to up our conversion rate in the New Year in order for this to be a reality, otherwise it’ll be 5th /6th.
FA Cup – who knows, helps our cause somewhat that one half of Manchester won’t be in the fourth round ;)
Are you happy with the manager?
Yes – if you look at where we are as a club currently (in terms of league position since he returned), the quality of the squad, the amount of dead wood that has been cleared from the wage bill and most importantly the feel good factor around the whole club and squad, Kenny has been a massive part of that. He has the club in his blood and desperately wants want the fans want – success for LFC. The only frustration I do find with him, and highlighted perfectly last night, is that a little like Rafa, sometimes ‘Plan B’ comes a little too late.
Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?
Plenty – the Academy at LFC has had a massive overhaul in the last few years and there are a number of exciting international prospects coming through the ranks. A couple that have real promise for me are Raheem Sterling (an exciting winger) and Andre Wisdom (a powerful CB).
If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?
Adam Johnson, David Silva or Sergio Aguero – the latter two were linked with transfers to LFC during the Benitez era a number of times, and it is clear from their performances this season that they have both adapted to the PL very well. Adam Johnson in my humble opinion should play more football than he currently does for his talent – would love to see him at Liverpool.
What is your perception of City as a club?
I don’t feel the same animosity towards City as I did to Chelsea when they bought the league first time around, and I think the main reason for this is that the City fans I know seem to be more humble about their current successes – enjoying the football, but without the arrogance that came with Chelsea. The fact I’m about as much of a fan of your neighbours as you are probably plays a part in my opinion too!
Likely Liverpool starting XI for the game, and score prediction?
This is the line up I would like to see but not necessarily the one Kenny will put out.
Score prediction: 1-1.
See further responses to the same questions from RAWK members.