Talking to the Opposition: Liverpool Fans!

    We spoke to Liverpool Forum Red And White Kop (RAWK) ahead of next Saturday’s game. Full thread here: Talking to the Opposition

    1. Eleven games into the season and enough games to judge the start of the season. How do you feel your Liverpool side have done?

    cfcciom: It’s early days but I’ve been delighted with how we’ve done. To be sitting in second place in the middle of November as will be the case come the derby is a big achievement. We’ve played some great football and have shown the sort of resilience we’ve lacked for years.

    iamrobk: About as well as I could have hoped for, to be honest! Would have liked a draw at the Emirates, and maybe losing to Soton was harsh (though they are quite good, we just didn’t really know it at the time), but overall it’s hard to complain! Still room for improvement though, and we have a lot of difficult matches coming up.

    Ickle Girl: Very well. I’m still angry about the Southampton game and to draw with 10 men Newcastle was disappointing but apart from that we’ve exceeded expectations.

    G1 Jockey 4: Points wise we have done well. Performance wise there have been issues.

    2. Have there been any key players in your side this season that have gone unnoticed to media/opposition fans?

    G1-tiga: Personally for me, it has to be Simon Mignolet. Yeah I know he has been spoke about in the papers and on this site but I really don’t think we appreciate how many of his saves have been top class this season, I have a lot more faith in our keeper now than I did in Reina’s latter years.

    Upinsmoke: Probably Henderson, it’s easy to say he runs around like a headless chicken but he presses well and we don’t have the most mobile players behind him (Gerrard and Lucas) so he’s been important in that aspect.

    DonkeyWan: Skrtel has improved his form immeasurably over the last season, he’s been really important to the good start this season.

    Teddy Ted Ted Anfield Ed: I would say Kolo Toure who everyone thought would just make up the numbers in the squad but he has been excellent. The other key players this season for us aren’t exactly unnoticed!!

    DyingAthiest: Henderson. The flack he gets from opposition fans is ridiculous, heck, plenty of our own supporters seemingly don’t appreciate him either. I think he’s been fantastic however, he does far more than work hard – he presses well, makes some beautiful passes and with just a bit more luck/confidence he’ll start netting a couple too. Feels like it did with Lucas a few seasons back, and I think in a couple of seasons he’ll be known as one of the best midfielders in the league.

    3. Is there a weak point in your starting eleven?

    dmorgan: Central midfield could be an issue if we play 3 at the back(though unlikely). Cissokho can become a bit unsettled at LB.

    Always_A_Red: CM has been the main issue this season. The game against Arsenal last week highlighted a big problem when it comes to playing against a top team who can pass the ball well and exploit our midfield. LB is also an area we need to improve on.

    Elzar: The centre of midfield can be a bit vulnerable at times. I always think Gerrard should be played further up the pitch with less defence responsibility. When we dominate though, Lucas and Gerrard are brilliant. When we lose, we usually pick on the negatives of every player, and it is rare that a player will escape from the criticism. That seems to be the norm in most teams now though.

    wige: Set pieces as a whole still, though we’re looking increasingly threating from our offensive ones.

    mrantarctica: LB and CM are the two areas I would strengthen in January.

    4. What are your expectations for the rest of the season?

    telekon: The expectation is to keep up the fight for top 4. There might be a dip of points in December where we have some tough games (Manchester City and Chelsea away), but we will most likely have a good run in, f not only for the fact that Brendan and the fitness team works to peak the physical ability later in the season and keep that through April and May.

    N0rnIr0nRed: Hopefully a strong challenge at for a Champions League place. If we bolster our squad in January like we did last year I think we can have a real push for the top four. However think a 5th place finish is more realistic.

    1892tillforever: I’m a miserable sod so I’d better tell you my hopes instead of my expectations! I hope we can sustain this form, put away the weaker sides in the league and be playing Champions League football in the 2014/15 season.

    edge: Top 4 is the goal, and if we can strengthen in January, I don’t see any reason why we can’t achieve that.

    J-Mc: Personally, if we buy a decent midfielder or two in January and we’re still there or there abouts at the top then i’m hoping for a title push, but my head is telling me it won’t happen, as much as I have blind faith. We need to finish in the top 4.

    5. With that in mind, is Brendan Rodgers the man to take you there?

    JTK: Yes. I think he is. I am looking forward to us just giving him time, the owners seem to share his vision and ambition, and he’s done enough so far to justify that.

    BobPaisley3: Without doubt. Not afraid to change tactics/formations. He’s an innovative, forward thinking manager. If a player isn’t good enough, he’ll ship him out. In the past we’ve held onto sub standard players for too long, mainly due to ridiculous contracts. Those days seem to be gone and the club looks much healthier now.

    Historical Fool: I believe so. The Rodgersification of Liverpool is, as said earlier, evolving and the end product does look tasty. For a club with global appeal yet limited financial clout, it is imperative that we have a coach who focuses on youth and is able to elevate what we currently have to a higher level.

    And to an extent, Rodgers has delivered that. He has given youth a chance, and added several dimensions to our players’ games (see Downing’s improvement, Henderson’s improvement and versatility, Gerrard’s reinvention as a deep-lying midfielder) and has shown evidence of a tactical, thinking approach to the game. He has also shown the adaptability to fall back on route-1 defensive football when the situation calls for it, conceding possession yet holding on for the result.

    6. Your tactics have been brought under discussion recently, are we likely to see the 3-5-2, 4-4-2 or another formation?

    IanZG: I’m guessing the 3-5-2 was something we used in a few games and we’ll keep it as a backup option, but I would expect us to field a 4-4-2 (a bit different than the common 4-4-2, but still a 4-4-2 ) in most of the games this season, this derby included.

    Hyypia Headers: Would say 442. Suarez, Sturridge and Coutinho will start.

    Das Liverpool: Most likely a 4-4-2 if everyone is fit, 3-5-2 seems to have been a short term solution whilst the likes of Johnson and Coutinho were injured. It was an experiment that brought mixed results but long term a back four will be what we play.

    How our midfield and attack sets up is up for debate. Playing Suarez, Sturridge and Coutinho in their best positions isn’t an easy task, especially when so few teams play with two strikers up front anymore.

    7. Are you confident of a win going into the derby?

    Offlinehitman89762000: Yeah its the first half of our guarenteed six points a season

    SlowRap: Positive that with Sturridge and Suarez we can get a result against anyone in this league.

    Alf: I can’t see us losing. Not certain we’ll take all 3 points though.

    gregor: No. Never am though, I absolutely hate them. Love the buildup week but the game itself makes me feel sick and there’s no feeling worse than losing the derby. Very few better than winning it though.

    WelshRed: No. Never am. I hate the derby. There’s so much on the game I don’t tend to enjoy them, unless we’re a few goals up very quickly.

    NorthamptonKopite: I think it’s hard not to go into all games confident aslong as Suarez and Sturridge are fit. These two are on fire and when you watch Liverpool these days you feel like we can score at any point, and most probably will score atleast once. We have attacking quality and defensive quality, with a very capable keeper in the sticks. The midfield is the worry but I think we have enough to control the game. Having said this, Lukaku is a worry and I think Agger might be dropped so that Sakho can come in for the battle. With the derby anything can happen though and Everton are strong side and it’ll be tough.

    On to Everton… 

    8. How do you think we have performed so far this season?

    CHOPPER: Bafta material.

    dumaten: Not bad. I thought you looked better early in the season with Barkley in the team, I remember seeing that game you drew with WBA but battered them, now you’re struggling to create anything against Palace. I guess Barkley is quite raw and not really a 90 minute player yet but your current midfield looks quite one-paced.

    kopitecrash: Not too badly. A great young set of players in Barkley, McCarthur and Lukaku (Although Lukaku is probably not long term), good football cept against Palace. A great win against Chelsea. Decent enough.

    rissmeister: I have only seen four of your games (Chelsea, City, Spurs, Palace), in two I’ve been impressed, in the other two not so much. I am, however, impressed that you’re on par point wise to Man Utd and Spurs after facing Chelsea, City and Spurs.

    Oh, and getting Moyes to pay £27 million for Fellaini, that got to be one of the master strokes of the summer. 

    9. What do you make of our manager Roberto Martinez? Do you think he will be successful with the Blues?

    decky: Hard to dislike, similar to Rodgers I think in style. I think he could be successful, yes.

    Teddy Ted Ted Anfield Ed: I’ve always liked Martinez. I like how he goes about things – full of class and dignity. He wants to play football the way he sees fit and is a likeable chap. Depends on what you mean by success. Personally I think he will find it hard to replace the experienced players in your team because you haven’t the money to replace their ability like for like. So he will have to nurture and develop replacements which will take time. So really depends on your definition. If he can win a trophy for Wigan then he can for Everton. But I do not see Everton challenging for a CL place any time soon really. I think a top 8 place on a consistent basis and doing well in the cups should be considered successful for you.

    Hyypia Headers: I think you will be more entertained than with Moyes. Results wise, I reckon you won’t improve much.

    iamrobk: Wasn’t sure of him before recently. I thought Moyes to Manchester United and Martinez to Everton would make both sides weaker. Unfortunately only half of that seems to be true.  Still early, and it’ll be interesting to see how he does in the next few transfer windows, but it seems he’ll do well.

    10. Under Martinez, do you think you’ll see a different, maybe more attacking, approach by Everton to the derby games?

    DanA: I think it’ll be a very different game. Cahill and Felliani were the types that stood up with their physical approach and you’ve lost that. It’ll be a lot less scrappy now but often scrappy competitiveness payed dividends in these derbies. But you’re a much better ball playing team now with some excellent wingplay and will be much more attacking in this area. I can see you having more posession but I’m confident we can keep Baines/Pienaar quite on the left, i’m less confident about Coleman and Mirallas on the right though.

    GrkStav: Not necessarily. Perhaps a more ‘controlled’ approach, not necessarily more attacking as such.

    BobPaisley3: Definitely a different approach with the ball on the floor and an emphasis on attack. He’ll be wary though, especially with the form that our front two are in. It should be a good watch, although derbies often aren’t.

    Historical Fool: Although it’s not my right to criticise this statement, I do think Moyes always set out in derbies to get a result. Attack at the right times, and defend at the right times. There has to be a balance struck.

    I feel if Everton become more “attacking” as you premise, then you lot will need to go all the way. Pen us in our half, isolate Suarez and Sturridge and put a man (probably Barry) on Coutinho so he doesn’t have the chance to link play. Barry will be pivotal, because he will need to both nullify Coutinho and plug the gaps where Coleman and Baines gallop upfield.

    11. Which Everton player do you think will trouble you most next Saturday?

    edge: Lukaku. Can also see Mirallas giving either one of our left backs a good runaround, if he’s played there.

    J-Mc-: Lukaku, we never deal with physical strikers at all well however we’ve never had the likes of Toure or Sakho, who are both strong lads, at the back. Last time we had someone like that was Sami Hyypia, yet he wasn’t the fastest around so the more physical and faster strikers would still sometimes have a field day against our backline.

    N0rnIr0nRed: Baines.

    JTK: Lukaku. Our defence always struggles against big attackers. He’s a fucking big attacker.

    12. Where in the starting eleven do you think the weak link lies?

    Elzar: I think Everton could be got at down the right, Coleman is decent but we have a lot of players that tend to play mainly on the left of our attack. Enrique, Coutinho and Suarez all coming over could cause problems, Jagielka and Coleman will need the right winger and one of Mccarthy and Barry to help out plenty during the game.

    1892tillforever: Your centre defence could be in for a torrid time.

    decky: Both centre backs, especially Distin.

    CHOPPER: Footballing ability.

    13. Where do you think us Toffees will finish this season?

    Das Liverpool: 6th to 8th. Competition in the top 8 is ridiculous this year, another year I think you’d be an outside bet for top 4, but this year it’s too strong.

    IanZG: I would guess out of the top 6, maybe fighting with Southampton for 7th or 8th spot, Soton were looking the better team so far, but I wouldn’t expect them to keep it up for the whole of the season.

    IckleGirl: 8th

    cfcciom: It’s hard to call this year but I’m going for seventh, possibly sixth if Tottenham don’t start scoring goals.

    NorthamptonKopite: I think 6th would be an extremely good season. 7th or 8th is more likely I think.


    14. Predictions?

    WelshRed: Always going to back Liverpool. 2-1.

    G1-tiga: I predict a good game, but I really do fancy us to beat you. 3-1 Suarez to get that hat-trick he deserved last year!

    Offlinehitman89762000: Yeah 7-0 lfc brad jones scores the 7th. Thanks. Thanks for the 3 points.

    telekon: 3-1 Liverpool. I think you’ll struggle to contain Suarez.

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