Saturday, 15 August 2015

This is Anfield sends Rival Lines to Cherry Chimes

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Liverpool FC v AFCB
17 August 2015
Blogger Interview: This is Anfield
Twitter @MattLawson 

Last week I had the pleasure of talking to Matt Ladson, who writes for the This is Anfield site, and he was happy to give me the full low down on what had been happening at Liverpool over the summer and what we can expect in terms of the players that might give the Cherries a rather tough evening at Anfield on Monday night.

CC: What is the general feeling like with Anfield fans for the new season having seen Gerrard and Sterling depart?

TIA: It's less about those two departures and more about the seven who have arrived. If we'd signed these 7 last summer, we'd have been a hell of a lot better off last season.

The general feeling though is that optimism is pretty low. I myself get optimistic when thinking about a new attack built around Coutinho and Firmino, but there are doubts over Benteke and we can only hope Sturridge returns and stays fit. Then there's the feeling that Rodgers doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes, and has started with Lovren ahead of Sakho, and playing 4231 - a formation that hasn't worked for us since 2009.

CC: How well did pre-season games go for Liverpool?

TIA:As well as pre-season games can go. Not sure why anybody even takes notice of them to be honest, 20 years ago I doubt we even knew the results of most of them. We played pretty crap teams in every game.

CC: Is James Milner the best bit of incoming business that Liverpool have done this summer or does he not excite you?

TIA: Best business, time will only tell. Firmino could be that if he provides the spark and unpredictability we need, even if we have paid a lot for him. Milner though is more efficient business and is definitely a good signing given our squad make-up at present.

CC: How highly do you rate Danny Ings and do you expect him to get more of a chance than Rickie Lambert did in a Liverpool shirt?

TIA: I think he's a good player, but he'll probably end up like Lambert, yes. Which is a shame. I don't understand why we keep signing players who clearly need to be playing regularly to get anywhere near their best form, yet have no plans to play them regularly. Ings will play in Europa, the cups and whenever we're short up front. I hope he forces his way in later in the season.

CC: Christian Benteke reportedly cost £32.5 million. It is expensive to buy from another Premier league club, but would you have preferred a striker from a foreign league?

TIA: Possibly, but then Rodgers has made it clear his desire to sign Premier League proven players - which is a complete myth that this will somehow help the transition. Torres and Suarez are the best two forwards we've signed in the last decade, both came from abroad and didn't need time to find their feet.

CC: Liverpool have had some goalkeeping problems in recent seasons so wa it not much of a surprise to see a young keeper like Adam Bogdan sign for the reds?

TIA: Bogdan's 27, he isn't young. [Ed - not a bad age for a keeper surely?] I can't understand the signing. It's pretty unambitious. If Mignolet gets injured or loses form again, we're not much better off than last season.

CC: You had a win at Stoke last weekend so does that take the pressure off in any way for Liverpool's first home game or would you expect a lot of criticism if you did not get a result against a newly promoted side?

TIA: Somewhat but there will huge expectation to win this game - especially knowing the fixtures that follow these opening two. Getting six points from these two opening games will be essential to keep the pressure off during that run.

CC: A lot has been said about Liverpool's difficult opening fixtures but are you particularly worried about the first 10 games?

TIA: Yes and no, there's that whole idea that the 'top' teams aren't usually in top form early in the season so arguably it's a good time to play them. But then Rodgers should be worried because a poor run in those 10 games will see huge pressure on him.

CC: Brendan Rodgers has brought in Sean O'Driscoll to his coaching staff who is another champion of the 'play from the back game' - had Liverpool been drifting away from their famous passing game?

TIA: Not at all. In Rodgers' first season we passed too much. In his second season we were quicker to get it forward but not long ball, more quick counter attack. Last season we had no identity at all. More concerning is the signing of Benteke and if that will lead to that; Mignolet to Benteke must have been one of our highest pass combinations vs. Stoke, hopefully this isn't a trend.

CC: How do you think AFC Bournemouth will get on in the Premier League?

TIA: I think your opening game will pretty much sum up your season; do well, earn respect, but ultimately not score enough goals. If Eddie Howe can find a system that ensures goals, then your chances will be much better. I think you'll get a few surprise upsets against big sides, but equally struggle when the squad is thin.

CC: Are Liverpool going to make the top four this season?

TIA: Probably not, but much may depend on how the transfer window ends. If United lose de Gea and fail to sign a centre-back, I can easily see us finishing above them. They have huge weaknesses. It will be a close run.

CC: How do you expect Liverpool to line up against the Cherries?

TIA: Either the team that started vs. Stoke, or the team that finished vs. Stoke. My (and most fans') preference would be for the latter.

Mignolet - Clyne - Skrtel - Lovren - Gomez - Can - Milner - Henderson - Firmino - Coutinho - Benteke

CC: Any players that are definitely out of the game?

TIA: Sturridge, Flanagan, Allen, plus the unwanted trio of Balotelli, Borini and Enrique

CC: What is your score prediction for Liverpool v AFC Bournemouth?

TIA: Liverpool 3-1 Bournemouth

CC: Thanks for coming on Cherry Chimes Matt. You can see more about how Liverpool fancy their chances against the Cherries at This is Anfield. I don't think there is a good time to play Liverpool but if they are not quite in full swing yet we might hope that AFCB can get something on Merseyside, but it would probably be AFCB's biggest result ever. Philippe Coutinho has already shown the kind of form he is in last week at Stoke. Let's see if the Cherries become a bit better known themselves after this 90 minutes, perhaps they can give Brendan Rodgers just a bit of a headache.

Please also see my return interview with This is Anfield, where I answer Matt's questions to me on AFC Bournemouth ahead of the match.

1 comment:

  1. Noticed on the chat you gave that you live in Redhill, where are you planning on watching the game? Would be nice not to be the only Cherry wherever I watch it in Redhill!