Opposition view: Liverpool

By Ric Turner, Mon 23 December 2013 09:42


Opposition view: LiverpoolForum member Scouse_Jimi gives us the lowdown on our Boxing Day opponents

What are your expectations for this season?

Before the season started, my expectations were to at least put up a fight for 4th spot. Felt the gulf in the summer window between us and Spurs would be too much based on the money they spent. I predicted we'd finish 5th. Now the season is well underway I'm surprised at how well we've done, my expectations now are that a top 4 position is well within our grasp - particularly with United having such a poor start and Spurs imploding off the field.

Are you happy with the manager?

Yes, I've always been a fan of Rodgers. His ability to get the best out of players, forge a strong team bond and work ethic is second to none. Add into that the fact our star player had "downed tools" at the end of the summer according to Jamie Carragher. The manager treated him like a naughty boy by making him train alone then put his arm round him to the point where the man now has a new contract and is captaining the team - some turn around and at the very least increasing his value exponentially before the summer. Rodgers has a long way to go however it's clear he's on the right track. I expect a new contract for him in the coming months and it is well deserved.

Who are your key players?

Suarez, Sakho & Coutinho. People say we're a one man team, however we work as a team. Suarez's success in front of goal, aside from his outstanding skill, is due to the team making the spaces for him to operate. Coutinho has plateaud a little bit and is due a good game, especially if he wants to grab a squad place in the World Cup. Sakho has been a beast, he'll need to be to handle Negredo & Dzeko.

Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?

So, so - our owners have a clear transfer policy, we'll buy the players we can do no matter the fee (Sakho) if they're right for the team. Mentality plays a massive part in this, Christian Eriksen being case and point. Every fan wanted us to sign him, we looked at him by all accounts but decided against making a bid because his workrate wasn't deemed to be good enough. In the last transfer window we landed Sakho who is immense, Toure on a free from City was also another great signing. The only summer signing I don't rate is Aspas - think this is to do with the fact he's had minimal game time, clearly not good enough for the first team.

Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?

We've got an exceptional academy setup and there are a few youngsters making waves who look like they might make it. Mclaughlin (right back), Rossiter (central midfield), Ibe (wide forward/winger) & Brad Smith (left back) are all getting stints at Melwood with the first team training.

Your Achilles heel?

Southampton & Arsenal beat us with ease. Both teams play a controlled pressing game that and set pieces.

If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?

Tough one, Toure & Aguero are close. I'd go for Yaya - Midfield is lacking badly for us, we need a strong box to box midfielder and he'd fit the bill.

What is your perception of City as a club?

City are a bit of enigma for me. Aimlessly drifting until a few years ago then all of a sudden, after years of utter hardship, back in the big time. Fair play, there's not a supporter in the land that wouldn't appreciate the kind of cash from a position like that. Owners who don't interfere is a massive plus. I'm sure you'll do well and be strong for years to come.

Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?

Mignolet
Flanagan-Sakho-Skrtel-Johnson
Allen, Lucas
Sterling-Coutinho-Henderson
Suarez

Same team that beat Cardiff & Spurs. The manager rarely changes a winning team. The game will be high scoring, you're by far the favourites and should win but we can beat anyone on our day and confidence is high. I'll go for a high scoring 4-3 City win.

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