Date:Friday November 2 2012
Continuing the recent addition of an interview with rival editors of Vital sites of forthcoming opponents.
Next up is Liverpool and Gavin Day (Man in charge of Vital Liverpool)
1. How is the season going so far? As expected or still early days?
Not brilliant but it's hard to know exactly what the club's aims are for this season. After a number of years of turmoil off the pitch and in the dugout, it seems Brendan Rodgers is the man for the long-term who the owners feel can take the team back to the top. However, after making that decision they then decided not to back him in the transfer market despite a number of experienced personnel such as Dirk Kuyt, Craig Bellamy and Maxi Rodriguez leaving. So arguably we're left with a weaker squad than the one that could only finish 8th last season.
2. What's the thought behind Brendan Rodgers? Is he the right man for the job?
In many ways he's a good fit with his passing philosophy and penchant for blooding youth both incredibly admirable. Giving Rodgers the job though was a big gamble given his lack of experience and chequered career to date. At this stage, whether he is the right man or not is a little hard to judge though because even Bill Shankly would struggle to turn our current team into contenders; the players are just not good enough. Rodgers needs time and money to shape the squad before a proper assessment can be made but it is not certain he will get either.
3. Was it an appointment that excited you?
Not really. Like many others I'd admired the way Swansea City played but felt one season in the Premier League, with a team that previous managers had helped to shape, was not enough to warrant Rodgers taking charge of Liverpool. Add to that his failure at Reading and an acrimonious departure from Watford and it is hardly the CV of someone who should be managing the most successful club in Britain. That said, the other suggested options were hardly stellar either and going for a vibrant young manager was probably the right decision at this point in time after the previous appointments of Kenny Dalglish and Roy Hodgson. Although in this regard, Roberto Martinez would have shaded it for me.
4. Has 'THAT' documentary affected the way in which Liverpool fans view him?
Probably. He`s not exactly a high profile figure though so most fans didn`t really have any preconceived notions of what Rodgers would be like from a personality perspective etc. The documentary series has been an interesting watch but I'm not convinced it has portrayed Rodgers in the best light. Many of his team talks and rallying cries featured were a little clichéd and probably not to everyone's taste. Personally I found it difficult to take some of the things he said seriously and at times he sounded like David Brent of Mike Bassett. At the end of the day however (talking of clichés), its how the players react, and not the fans, that matters.
5. What's the high and what's the low points of the season so far?
Highs… erm… beating Norwich City? In many ways this season has followed the pattern of the previous campaign with a number of notable performances, such as against Manchester City and Manchester United, not producing the deserved results. Going out of the League Cup in midweek was certainly the biggest low, give or take the blind linesman in the derby.
6. Is the way in which NUFC run now, respected from your point of view?
After the few years we have had I think most teams are now respected from an operational point of view! When you come close to administration and have a couple of cowboys in charge, intent on dragging you through the courts and your name through the mud, even Mike Ashley seems like a 'sound geezer'. To be fair, Ashley has certainly learnt and improved as he's gone along - becoming more low-key has certainly helped the public perception of him. Recent decisions such as the Wonga deal and giving all the staff eight-year contracts can be questioned though.
7. Where do you see Liverpool finishing this season?
Tough to say and a lot may depend on any reinforcements we can muster in January. Hopefully we can improve on last season and therefore 6th or 7th would be begrudgingly acceptable. Another good cup run, perhaps in the Europa League, would also be a welcome boost. Sooner or later though we need to get back into the Champions League and the longer we fail to do so, the harder it will become.
8. And us?
Above us probably! Top 6 should be your minimum aim after such a strong campaign last time around. Scoring goals is crucial and you certainly have a lot more firepower than we do at the moment, and arguably more than the likes of Arsenal and Spurs too.
9. Who do you fear out of our line up?
The entire forward line to be honest! Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse are a fantastic combo and with support from Hatem Ben Arfa, plus Yohann Cabaye pulling the strings in the midfield, Newcastle can be a potent attacking force on their day.
10. Who do you think got the better deal in regards to our last two sales to you, Carroll and Enrique?
You really have to ask about Carroll? As for Enrique, he was excellent for the first 6 months but a subsequent dip in form and now injuries have resulted in a lengthy period out of the team. Given the fee wasn't too big, around £6m I believe, he's been a solid if unspectacular addition to the squad... With over £40m spent on the two there is only one winner in the deals and they don't play in red.
11. Do you see any weak areas in which Liverpool will try to exploit this weekend?
Defensively you can still be a little erratic on occasions despite Fabricio Coloccini being one of the most improved players in world football (Alan Pardew's recent comparison to Bobby Moore a touch excessive). I think Rodgers will concentrate on getting the best out of his own players rather than the worse in those of the opposition. For us, if Luis Suarez has one of his unplayable days then we are always in with a chance against anyone.
12. Predictions for the weekend?
And the light hearted questions…
What is the point of Stewart Downing?
To make the rest of the team feel better about themselves is the only thing I can think of. A lot has been made about the £35m spent on Andy Carroll and upwards of £20m on Jordan Henderson but he is in a field of one when it comes to outlandish wastes of money. 0 goals and 0 assists in 40 odd league games at Liverpool says all you need to know about his impact, or lack thereof. And in case it doesn't, then the fact that Rodgers, on the rare occasion he has picked him, has fielded the winger at left-back hammers home his Anfield failings to date. More embarrassing than his 34 caps for England is the fact I was a big advocate of his signing and suggested he was exactly what we needed!
Why have you turned Enrique into Tyrone from Corrie?
Tyrone looks more like a fat Michael Owen. He's probably got a better fitness record though after all those hours working in Kevin's garage.
Does Brendan Rodgers say ok in every sentence?
Yes. Often accompanied with a customary finger wagging gesture which is reminiscent of cricketing umpire Billy Bowden.
For those interested, you can follow our rival ed. on Twitter
Follow Gavin on Twitter: @superbag
Date:Friday November 2 2012
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