Writer: Gavin John Day
Date:Saturday February 22 2014
As part of our build-up to Liverpool's fixture with Swansea City this weekend we've interviewed an opposition fan for their thoughts on the game...
Sunday's Premier League encounter at Anfield sees fourth placed Liverpool hosting current League Cup holders Swansea City.
The Merseysiders harbour outside hopes of a first league title since 1990 whereas the Swans recently made a managerial change to help safe guard their top flight status.
Vital Swansea editor Kevin Elphick gives us his thoughts on the game and plenty more besides below:
Q. How has your season gone so far and where do you see yourselves finishing?
It's not been the best of seasons really. Expectations were as high as they've ever been after finishing 9th last season, winning the Capital One Cup and Europa League qualification. Having made some promising signings in the Summer too, we were all quietly confident of another top half finish.
However, we've struggled to perform for the majority of the season and then sacked our manager recently, which proved to be the correct decision.
If we hadn't, I'd be very worried that Laudrup was taking us down, but under Monk there's a new wave of confidence amongst the team and fans and we look like a good side again and should have no troubles in finishing way beyond a relegation scrap.
Q. Are you enjoying playing in Europe or is it proving too much of a burden?
We loved it to begin with, winning in Valencia was incredible but it soon wore off, as we started to find it tough after that as we stopped winning games and struggled to score. You could say it has had an effect on us, but after seeing us perform under Monk, you have to look at our former manager and ask why he couldn't motivate us into producing better performances that we've always been capable of.
Q. Did the recent transfer window prove fruitful?
Not at all. The fans weren't happy at all as we signed youngsters and Championship players in Ngog and Emnes. Emnes may prove to be quite useful after a promising 45 minutes against Cardiff, but I don't have much confidence in Ngog at all.
Q. Who are the Swansea players in form and who should we watch out for?
Bony has hit form in 2014, although it's unfortunate for us that he can't seem to score in away League games. Dyer, Hernandez and Routledge all looked in fine form against Napoli on Thursday and I'm just hoping that all three are fit to play against you on Sunday.
Hernandez may miss out, but he can pick out superb through balls, while Routledge and Dyer are back operating as out-and-out wingers and causing a threat with their pace and trickery.
Q. What have you made of Liverpool so far this season and where do you see us finishing?
For me, Liverpool are one of the best teams to watch when they're at home, but Rodgers needs to improve the team away from home, it was something he struggled with when he managed us as well.
It's no surprise that he has got you playing an attractive style of football that's full of goals. It's taken him a bit of time to implement his style, but thankfully the club has remained patient with him and it's paying off this season.
You're not quite as solid defensively as the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City to compete for the title but top 4 should be a dead cert.
Q. Which Liverpool player(s) do you rate the most and why?
It has to be Suarez doesn't it? We really have to deal with his threat on Sunday as the striker can win games all on his own. I'm also worried about his set piece skills as we tend to concede a few free kicks in and around the box in away games so we'll have to avoid doing that. He can score from almost anywhere as he's proved this season, but can also link up the play well and create chances for his team-mates.
Q. What is your probable line-up and tactical approach for the game?
I would like us to go unchanged from Thursday against Napoli, but I'm not quite sure if Dyer and Hernandez are fit to play, hopefully they are as they were 2 of our best attacking players on the night.
Vorm, Rangel, Williams, Chico, Davies, Britton, Cañas, Dyer, Routledge, Hernández, Bony.
Q. How do you think you can be successful against Liverpool?
If we're positive and take the game to Liverpool, which I'm sure we will do thanks to Monk, then we've got a chance of getting something. The defence will have to be at their best but if they can manage the same work-rate, organisation and confidence they showed against Napoli, then there's no reason why we can't get a point. Of course, we'll have to deal with the threat of Suarez in particular as well as Sturridge and limit the space they have in the final third. We'll also need to be a bit more clinical in front of goal as Bony in particular has missed some great chances in the last 2 games.
Q. What's your prediction for the result?
After a superb performance against Napoli, I'm confident that we can frustrate Liverpool and get a point from the game - 1-1. I just hope we didn't burnout against Napoli after a performing with such energy and intensity on Thursday night. Hernandez will also be key, hopefully he is fit as playing behind the lone striker has brought out the best in the Spaniard who hasn't had the best of seasons due to injuries.
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Date:Saturday February 22 2014
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|7. Man Utd||33||17||6||10||+18||57|
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