Generally for the big games I try and get a passionate fan from our opponents to give the opinion of what they see currently for the game and how they view our club as an outsider looking in.
This time around its a good friend of mine, who has supported Liverpool for the past 26 years.
It doesn’t get much worse than that, not only losing to your big rivals, but having your captain sent off after 30 seconds. It’s not often an international break is a good thing for a club team, but this time it may have worked out well for Liverpool. Time to reflect. 7 points dropped since Christmas is still a great return.
What I was hoping would be a bonus game in terms of securing 4th now becomes one that Liverpool probably cannot afford to lose. Until a couple of years ago 70 points would have pretty much guaranteed you 4th, but it’s all tightened up a bit. Personally I think it is due to a drop in quality. I don’t think any fan of Arsenal, United or Liverpool, perhaps even Chelsea, would claim their team is as strong as 7-10 years ago when 3 Premier Premier League teams were making the Champions League Semis on more than one occasion.
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Arsenal meanwhile dream of 2nd and beyond. As an outsider that is all it is, its too hard to see a Chelsea team with one competition left slipping up. The fact is they have the best team this year, with the most depth. Looking ahead the FA Cup is the only chance of silverware, and it could be both teams meet at Wembley at the end of the season. What a final that would be.
It’s been interesting to see the anti-Wenger brigade have quietened down a bit again, although you feel it is never far from surfacing. Until a proper holding midfielder and strong centre half arrive it’s hard to see it ever going away, or indeed Arsenal getting back to challenging for the title.
So to this weekend. What a huge match. Liverpool will be without Gerrard and Skrtel, plus more long term absentees. It’s always a blow to lose players, but actually it means we go back to the team which started the good run of form, less Skrtel. It’s probably the big difference to last year in that a couple of injuries can be coped with. If we play like we have in the first half of the last two games we have no chance, but Rodgers is developing a track record of fixing problems as they arise. A fast start would be no surprise. A front three of Sterling, Countinho and Lallana works well, although the latter is also a doubt.
His formations the last couple of years have been like a trip down Championship Manager memory lane from years ago, with the diamond and adventurous 3-4-3. In the game when the press started going on about your unbeaten run, you knew it would come to an end soon. It was Liverpool’s turn last weekend, hopefully Arsenal this week.
It’s a game where both teams wouldn’t be happy with a draw, but it also wouldn’t be a disaster, so I think that’s how it will end up. Looking forward if Liverpool are to get 4th I think it will be at Man United’s expense. They have some big games coming up and I can only hope they slip up. I think Arsenal will end up third. Is that progress, and enough to keep the fans off Wenger’s back?
My prediction Gooners is 1-1..
Let the games begin!!