A look ahead at Monday's opponents
Ahead of Monday's clash at The Etihad, Bluemoon caught up with Liverpool fan Chris Wellman to get the lowdown on the opposition...
What are your expectations for this season?
They have been heightened since last season's finish but I would be pleased with a period of consistency culminating in 3rd or 4th. Man City and Chelsea look very strong this year and I don't think we are quite there yet. Confident we can finish in a Champions League place so would be disappointed not to. We need a little more depth-which we nearly have-to cope with the amount of games this year. Believe we are good enough to hold off Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham and I suppose that team from Salford...
Are you happy with the manager?
Extremely. He has stamped his ethos onto the team and does not suffer fools. His reputation was promising-all be it unsubstantiated after the Reading blip-fitting in immediately and understanding what it means to manage Liverpool-being a fan helped! Last year was beyond all Liverpool fans' expectations and I like the way he deals with the media. Like to think he comes across as respectful to opposing fans and managers. Has a steely determination.
Who are your key players?
I would say Coutinho-provides invention from midfield and extremely skilful-Brazil's World Cup loss at not picking him was our gain. Sterling- seems to be maturing by the minute and has 'bulked up' so harder to push off the ball. Henderson-much maligned but he always shows for the ball and runs all day. Sturridge-can he take over the mantle as 'number one striker'? which I think he will thrive on. Gerrard for leadership and I would say Lovren who is the commanding centre back we have needed since Carragher. More skilful that the latter and pops up with a goal or two. Impressive.
Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?
Pretty much, yes. We knew Suarez was going and so to get what we did for him-in light of his ban-was seen as good business. The above mentioned Lovren was excellent for our first game of the season; hardly phased by the barracking he got from Southampton fans; worth the 20 Million. Needed to sort a leaking defence so he is ideal and with Moreno (Sevilla) and Manquillo(Athletico) it bodes well though the latter is unproven. Markovic is a talent, Emre Can I am unsure about, Lallana is a good attacking left midfielder and Lambert will add a different dimension upfront which we lacked last year. Ballotelli? Think you all know about what he can do...
Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?
Look out for Jordan Ibe-may be going on loan-a talented winger who played for Wycombe at 15. Has come to the fore and is similar to Sterling. He is pushing for more first team action. One for the future who will be in squads from time to time-he was on the bench twice last year-is Liverpool born Jordan Rossiter who is an authoritative central midfield player. Only 17 but thought highly enough to be compared to Steven Gerrard at the same age.
Your Achilles heel?
We are a little naive at times- last year we knew we could score goals but needed to sometimes rein it in and not neglect our defensive duties. Chelsea at home was a classic example. They came for a draw and we went at them when caution would have been a better policy. Defence is prone to lapses (see Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel) and we sometimes don't have a 'Plan B'.
If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?
Personally I would love Vincent Kompany. Commanding, calm and a great leader-seems a nice fella too! David Silva a close second.
What is your perception of City as a club?
Good luck to you. They have shaken the 'usual 4 hierarchy' up over the last few years by playing dynamic football and entertaining. I am not one who moans about the money invested in your team -any fan would like it at their club. You are a permanent threat now. Still prefer Maine Rd as opposed to the Etihad when I come and watch Liverpool!
Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?
Reckon it will be:
Man City 2 Liverpool 1