Liverpool: The View From St James' Park
As part of Vital Liverpool's buildup to the Premier League clash with Newcastle United we've interviewed a Magpies fan for their thoughts ahead of the game...
Sunday afternoon's match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield is a potentially crucial fixture for both teams as they look to move up the table.
The hosts, despite positives such as their style of play and an injection of youth into the team, have struggled for consistency under new manager Brendan Rodgers and were eliminated from the Capital One Cup in midweek.
Newcastle will have gone into the campaign hoping to become a regular Champions League qualification challenger after going close to a top four finish last season. They current lie 10th however, two places above Liverpool, but like the Reds can at least point to a difficult run of opening fixtures as part of the reason for their current league position.
Click here for our full Premier Preview of the game
A big thank you to Vital Newcastle editor Mark Robson for agreeing to answer the following questions for us...
Q. How has your season gone so far and where do you expect to finish?
The season we haven't had the same impact as last year as the fixture list hasn't been as kind and we've had harder games to start. Add that to an unbalanced side through injury and we aren't as yet firing on all cylinders. It`s still gone ok as we're in the European place mix.
I expect to finish anywhere from 4th to 10th depending on a few factors. If we're within a few points of 4th and we strengthen a bit in January, whilst keeping everyone, then the C/L places will be on.
Q. Who are the Newcastle United player(s) we should look out for?
Look out for Hatem Ben Arfa, if he's on his game then he's a genius. The usual suspects are also amongst the ones to watch including Papiss Cisse who will be replacing Demba Ba more than likely, Yohan Cabaye, Fabricio Coloccini and, one for the future, Davide Santon.
Q. What have you made of Liverpool so far this season and where do you expect us to finish?
I've been a bit surprised as I expected a lot more. Liverpool have this aura about them that they are going to click but so far it hasn't happened. Hopefully it stays away for another game!
I'm used to Liverpool sides being right up there but this season, they have the look of a side in transition. If you get top 6 then it will be a great achievement.
Q. Do you believe Brendan Rodgers was the right man for the job and will prove a success long-term?
Actually I don't. I think there is a massive expectation level surrounding Liverpool, similar to the one that we had a few years back and we had to endure relegation to rid us of any thought train.
Liverpool will need a similar scenario to happen or have a complete overhaul from top to bottom because the ghosts of Shankly, Paisley, Dalglish (the first time as manager) etc etc will always be like a weight around the neck of any newcomer. Nobody deserves a place by past history; it has to be earned on merit. This expectation causes pressure although in fairness, the pressure doesn't always come across on TV but it must be there.
Q. Which Liverpool player(s) do you rate the most and why?
Steven Gerrard, simply because he's Mr Liverpool. We had it with Shearer; he was the cement in the wall and when he didn't play, it affected the team and the fans. When he retired, it took us a good few years to get over it.
Q. What is your probable line up for the game and how do you think you can be successful against Liverpool?
I expect this line up, depending on injuries: Krul, Santon, Coloccini, Williamson, Simpson, Jonas, Perch, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi, Cisse.
Although I wouldn't be surprised to see Shane Ferguson on the left of midfield and Jonas take Perch's place in the centre of midfield.
Q. What's your prediction for the result?
We never do well so 3-1 to Liverpool. That said, I wouldn't rule out the same score line to us. Liverpool always raise their game against us and I've a feeling it will be used as a platform for the rest of the season.
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