With Manchester United poised to face Liverpool on Sunday, I posed several questions to members of the LFC Reds Forum. Read the Stretford End Arising match preview here: Liverpool vs. Manchester United
Stretford End Arising: What are your thoughts on Sunday’s game? What team is Kenny Dalglish likely to select and what formation will he adopt? Where will the game be won or lost?
lfc_ynwa: My thoughts on the game are that it’s going to be the biggest match of the season. Both teams are very weak compared to past years. It’s going to be a very close game where the ref’s will have a big play in it. I think both teams are very even if Vidic and Rio are injured and Carroll is in for us.
I think we’ll play 433 Renia, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Auerlio, Lucas, Meireles, Gerrard, Cole, Kuyt, Suarez
The 2 weakest parts of that team for me are Cole and Kuyt. Both don’t do enough, I’d imagine they will be gone/replaced by better players in the summer. Johnson at right back is not very strong, great attacking but poor defensively. I’ve noticed he does better when Carragher plays next to him though.
King Kenny has done wonders for us when he took over. Under Roy we were all thinking the worse, relegation and big names leaving. Well there are still worries about the latter but we know and trust that Kenny will replace them with just as good quality. He’s united all the fans for the first time in years and we feel ready for the battle to win the premier league. I do believe he will get the full time job.
Same with the owners, under Hicks and Gillet we knew there was no money and we prayed that star players would stay because we wouldn’t replace them properly. Under the new owners, nesv, we are confident of replacing quality with quality and by buying quality players without increasing debt.
luissuarez#7: I am fairly confident, much more so than the previous encounters this season though as kick-off approaches I’m sure I’ll become a ball of nerves. The reasons for being more optimistic are mainly because we’ll have home advantage and, with the suspension to Vidic and Ferdinand’s absence, your defence will be more vulnerable than usual.
I think our line-up may well be based on what Kenny thinks yours will be. He tends to play the well-documented wing-back system against teams with two-up top I think so we may see it deployed on Sunday. I think it will also depend on the fitness of Daniel Agger just how we play because he is a particularly vital part of the team but more so with three across the back because he gets us playing football from the back with his ability on the ball. Some people may scoff at this but I think the match may be won or lost for us depending on Lucas Leiva’s performance. Twice this season he has dominated the Chelsea midfield and he has a pass completion ratio of around 88% I think this season. He has become effective at breaking down opposing attacks and either starting attacks of our own or at least making sure we retain possession. That being said these games are often won and lost by an error or a piece of magic, Berbatov’s bicycle kick being the difference in the league and I would say Gerrard’s red card in the cup game.
SEA: Looking in from the outside there appeared to be a lack of support for Roy Hodgson. Is this a fair comment? Why was he not afforded the time to build his team? What difference has Dalglish made to Liverpool? What are expectations for the remainder of the season? Is Kenny likely to be Liverpool’s manager next season?
luissuarez#7: I would say Roy Hodgson’s appointment was met with a lukewarm reception at the time. Many fans were disappointed by the old regime and saw Roy’s appointment as a lack of ambition. You might point to his success in the previous year’s Europa League but he had won I think it was two or three away league games in his time at Fulham and his only other previous experience with a club similar stature to ours had been a failure. Also it believed that with the ownership likely to change hands that Roy was appointed to oversee the transition and the majority of fans thought Kenny would be a better choice as an interim having been working at the club for the previous 18 months. I’ll start by saying I think the majority of fans nevertheless backed him at first and hoped he’d get us moving in the right direction. However, during his tenure he made poor transfer dealings and maintained his own shoddy away record but I think what really bothered us the most was his (lack of) media-handling ability. He constantly contradicted himself and was eager to blame the last regime when he should have been looking forward. Also he failed defend one of our (former) players from criticism from your manager which as you can imagine did not go down well at all. Our results continued to be absolutely abysmal and we were never going to qualify for Europe if things continued. I think the new owners saw that results were far from satisfactory and Roy has alienated the fan base. I also believe that NESV have more of a right to build the club as they see fit than a manager they did not choose.
Since Kenny has come in it’s just given everyone a lift. He is rightfully considered our greatest ever player and one our best ever managers and so he was always going to get the fans on board. We have also seen an improvement in not just results but in playing style. It seemed under Hodgson we were too quick to resort to a long ball game, I think Reina hit over 30 long balls in the defeat to Wolves compared to under 5 in the season before. Now we are playing a more passing game and I Kenny has instilled a confidence in the players that was lacking before.
As for the rest season I think the majority of fans would be more than happy with top six after the first half of the season where we were in danger of getting sucked into a relegation battle. After the win against Chelsea there was a slight belief we could maybe push top 4 but I think that was more wishful thinking than a realistic ambition.
I expect Kenny will be handed a new contract before the season is out and reports are that he will have money to spend. There was a rumour of a £20million deadline day bid for Micah Richards and the fans expect that level of spending to occur in the summer. I think the general feeling is we are about three good players away from properly challenging for a top 4 position again and we expect that to happen next season.
Chats: There was plenty of support from Roy back in July. We all backed him despite him not being our preferred candidate. We were hoping for a Deschamps, Pellegrini or a King. But at the end of the day, he is a small club manager. He didn’t have the mentality to manage the biggest club in the world. Lose to a small club and Hodgson says the performance was decent, under Dalglish it’s the simple – not good enough lads. As for rebuilding the squad, of course he had no time but the signings he made hardly impressed. He was given no time simply because he wasn’t good enough with the tactics and motivation on the pitch. Kenny has turned us around. He’s injected belief and hope. He is the definition of Liverpool and when other supporters even call him the King you realise what he’s about. He’s back here with unfinished business. He WILL get Liverpool back to the top before handing the reins to a younger manager. He will knock Fergie “off his f**king perch”. As for this season, win the Europa and win games in the league.
PGlynn91: Roy Hodgson was never our first choice manager. He has won nothing in the game worth even being considered for such a big job and his negative football from the outset typified why he is suited to a lower half team. He also never connected with the fans and called our protests against previous owners an unwelcome distraction. His sacking has since been clearly justified, as our form and performances have dramatically risen. Dalglish has lifted spirits. He is an icon. He has previous success with Liverpool, he knows the club inside out. He knows what the fans want and we love him.
SEA: Were you disappointed by the departure of Torres? Or delighted to receive £50m for a player that has struggled with injury and form? Is £35m a tad steep for Carroll? Or will his signing be viewed as shrewd business, if in 10 years he has scored 200+ goals?
lfc_ynwa: I wasn’t disappointed in Torres leaving it was how he did it. 3 weeks prior to it he said he was going to see out his contract and that we should all get behind the fans and King Kenny. Next minute he’s handing in his transfer request to go to Chelsea with only 3 days in the transfer market left. I think 50 million for Nando was a good price considering his season and injuries, just felt betrayed by someone I once loved.
There is no debate in my mind that Carroll’s 35 million move was very expensive. The Torres deal was the main reason why that happened but there’s no denying that he’s a handful and a goal scorer. I remember Man United doing something similar for Rio Ferdinand, paid 30 million for him I believe and everyone said that he was way overpriced. I wonder how many would say that now? Similar thing with Carroll, a player who will be a 20 goal a season striker for the next few years with great resale value. It’s vital for his career that he sorts out his off field problems, I believe he will do that but there may be 1 or 2 incidents on the way. Least he’s not injury prone unlike Torres uh?
I love Fernando Torres. He was one of my favourite players. I’m disappointed he chose to leave (not that we choose to sell him). But to get 50 million for a player who has constantly been sulking, showed lack of effort and hunger, injury prone and so negative minded and never want to be here any longer, is a good deal. We brought in two young players who are probably have more hunger than Torres and still could play for Liverpool for another 10 years.
Chats: Disappointed initially, he is a classy striker but £50m is big for someone who has had major operations lately and playing poorly. We don’t want players who aren’t committed to the cause so being offered £50m was impossible to turn down IMO. Carroll price is double his value but what can you expect when you have to panic buy on the last day because your star man fu**ed you over? He looks class though, and him and Suarez for roughly the price of Nando and Babel is a terrific deal for us and hats off to our owners for dealing with it in the right way. A few more hours and we might have ended up with Ashley Young and Micah Richards too!
luissuarez#7: The departure of Torres was a blow considering we thought he was one of us almost, that he understood the fans passion with a succession of interviews he gave. To than demand a move to a rival was obviously a kick in the teeth. However he had been out of form for eighteen months and if he didn’t want to be here then we didn’t either. As Kenny said, ‘the most important people are the ones that want to be here.’ £50million was a good price and it enabled us to overspend on Carroll. It is a hefty price-tag on Andy but John Henry has come out and said that as long as we paid £15million less than we received for Torres then that was fine. I think as a Liverpool fan it is easier to look at what happened and say well we replaced Torres and Babel with Suarez and Carroll for almost identical money. When you look at it in that context it looks better!
SEA: United face Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup quarter-final. Which young Liverpool players are worth keeping an eye on?
luissuarez#7: The youth quarter-final should be interesting. We believe that we have the best current batch of youngsters we have had in a while. Rafa Benitez gained control of the academy 18 months before he left and he wasted no time bringing in Rodolfo Borrell from Barcelona to run it. I’d say Sterling, Suso and Coady are three players that have got the fans very excited by their potential.
PGlynn91: Obviously Raheem Sterling has been getting a lot of plaudits lately for recent performances and he has incredible ability. He is pacey, can shoot on both feet, has great composure, can cross and splits defences open leaving space for others. Suso is a young Spanish talent also along with Conor Coady who both were promoted to First Team training last month. Jack Robinson is the youngest ever player to play for the Senior team. Flanagan is a very handy right back, etc.
lfc_ynwa: We have fantastic youngsters coming through; best I’ve seen in my lifetime, I think they are better than United’s current crop. Watch out for Flannigon, Robinson, Wisdom, Coady, Suso, Sterling, Silva and Banton. They are the best of a very good bunch.
SEA: Favourite all time Liverpool player?
Chats: What a question. I seriously can’t choose. Barnes, Rush, Fowler, Gerrard and Carragher came close but it’s just King Kenny. He was magical as a player, brilliant as a manager and now he has come back to get Liverpool back to the top. You are enjoying your time at the top but we’ll be back, and you know it.
Adryan: Steven Gerrard. Been following Liverpool since 2001 and Gerrard was only 21. Hardly to believe I’m his age now and I’ve seen him grow from a young adult to a grown man!
PGlynn91: Steven Gerrard. No explanation needed.
SEA: Thank you very much for participating in feature.
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