If you are a Twitter or Facebook user, you would have no doubt seen the absolute state some of our fans are and were in after the F.A. Cup exit against Wolves at the weekend. Although, frustrating that we find ourselves out of both the F.A. and League Cup, I think we need to have some perspective on the where we are as a club, compared to this time last year. If you ask most Liverpool fans they would all agree that top 4 and Champions League qualification was our main priority, a decent cup run and some silverware was obviously a bonus. However, this season silverware may not be returning to Anfield, but Champions League football still looks on course to make a return. One deluded fan on Talk Sport phoned in and on his rant said “Jurgen Klopp doesn’t know a thing about tactics” – at this time more than ever, we need to get behind our manager (as I have no doubt that 99.9% of us are). Along with the team as they look to rediscover that scintillating form that sees us, still, on the top of the goals scored column. There is no doubt that the boss and the team will be feeling a little bit of pressure going into a massive, almost season decisive fixture against the rent boys this afternoon. It’s now more than ever the Anfield crowd, and especially the Kop, needs to have it bouncing come kick off because at the end of a storm, there’s a golden sky.
Enter, Chelsea. Well if there was ever a moment Liverpool needed to prove that they are a team that fancy themselves against the top teams in the league, today would be a fantastic time to show just that. Jurgen Klopp has not lost a game to another team in the top 6 this season, in fact in the league our only defeats come against: Burnley, Bournemouth and Swansea. Mane back will be a huge boost and whether or not he start’s remains to be seen (more than likely he will start on the bench) but Coutinho back is a massive boost too. For the first time in a long time we will be able to field our strongest 11 on the field at the same time. The squad has really been disrupted with AFCON, injuries to key players at the wrong times (don’t really recall a right time for an injury to be honest) and the whole Joel Matip saga just meet that January turned out to be a month that we would like to forget. With one day left a victory against the Blues would lift us.
Speaking of rent boys, I had a Q&A with one of their fans yesterday, Michael Dibben. It’s hard task actually finding one who isn’t a complete moron, or having one of them overstate the Gerrard slip, he only mentioned it once and didn’t feel as comfortable as you’d expect a Chelsea fan to be, when you consider the contrast in forms of both clubs. Either way, I think we can expect a hostile, frenetic game and perhaps a red card for the elephant man!! and the sweet, silver song of a lark.
When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high.
1. So, let’s get to it, what are your expectations going into tomorrow's game, considering the form of the two teams?
My heart says Chelsea to win 2-0 but my head says fate is going to force a 1-1 draw to make the title race that much more entertaining! I’m really just hoping for a great game, with a sneaky 92nd minute Diego Costa tap in.
2. Talking of expectations, following the collapse last season and finishing 10th did you expect Chelsea to be in the position they are in now, 8 points clear of 2nd place Arsenal (taking your in-different start in consideration and the change to a 3-4-3 formation) ?
I was apprehensive when we started the season with Conte because while he achieved well with Italy and Juventus, the Italian league is very different to the EPL and this showed in the first few games. He’s implemented the new formation and positional changes and the difference has been insane! Even Wenger is trying to use the 3-4-3 in his latest attempts to regain relevance.
3. What do team's fear the most(and you for this evenings game) when they come up against a Jurgen Klopp' Liverpool team ?
Liverpool’s goal scoring prowess has been there biggest weapon this season. They started the season on fire, scoring goals for fun but since the injury to Coutinho, Mane leaving for AFCON and Sturridge’s up and down form, their tendancy to concede quite a few goals has shown. That being said, you can never underestimate a Klopp attack.
4. Did you expect to see Liverpool in the top four for most of the season and at one point were even described by your very own Eden Hazard as "Chelsea' main rivals to the title" ?
I expected them to push for a top 4 position, maybe not to challenge for the title, though. Things have changed, however! Despite having an 8 point lead, if Chelsea loses this game and the following one vs Arsenal, the race is blown wide open and there’s no reason Liverpool can’t go all the way. Especially since Demba Ba and Steven Gerrard don’t play in the EPL anymore!
5. If you could have anyone Liverpool player, who would it be and why ?
I would have to say Coutinho. He pulls the strings in the Liverpool midfield and a kingpin like that is often the difference in a title charge. I’d love to have him feeding Hazard, Costa and Pedro in front of him.
6. The atmosphere has been a bit flat at Anfield of late, but no doubt it will be rocking tomorrow night, do you think the Kop will have an influence on the game and how do away fans/fans of other teams view the atmosphere at Anfield compared to other grounds in the league ?
Anfield has to be one of, if not the most intimidating stadiums to play in. I’ve seen opposition standing before a game quietly mumbling You’ll Never Walk Alone under their breath! The Liverpool fans are so passionate and driven. I know so many and I hate each and every one of them once we start talking football.
7. Your season ending Top 4 ?
I’m quietly confident that John Terry is going to be running on to the field, full kit wanker style, come May to lift the EPL trophy alongside our boys in blue.
8. Oh and one final question Michael, did the ball cross the line ?