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The Opposition's View - Liverpool

The Opposition's View - Liverpool
Gavin Day from Vital Liverpool answers our questions ahead of Sunday's tough trip to Liverpool.

Brendan Rodgers received quite a lot of criticism in his first season at Liverpool, does he have the full backing from the fans now given the vast improvement shown this year?

Indeed he does - Rodgers is very popular amongst Liverpool fans right now. Even last season when we were struggling most supporters could see what he was trying to achieve and applauded him for trying to play in a certain way and for blooding lots of youngsters.

This season we have been a joy to watch, especially at home, and Rodgers also earns respect from many for his openness and good PR skills; it's a refreshing change compared to predecessors Kenny Dalglish and Roy Hodgson.

What are your thoughts on Rodgers? Do you think he's the man to bring back silverware to Anfield?

I like Rodgers a lot. The club has chopped and changed too much over the past few years in terms of managers and structures etc and there was a sense that we needed to start afresh and let someone young and ambitious build for the long-term from the ground up.

Rodgers is certainly doing that and the fruits of his labour extend far beyond what the first team delivers over 90 minutes each week.

I'm pretty sure he will be around for many years to come and will deliver a trophy of some description. Whether that will be the one we all want, the league title, or not is another question and given the greater power and money possessed by the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea I sadly remain doubtful.

We are certainly heading in the right direction though and Rodgers is on target to deliver Champions League football for next season; something which is key to boosting our spending power and attracting top players.

Steven Gerrard has received varied reviews this season, is he past it or is there still plenty left in the tank?

There's still something left in the tank although admittedly the fuel is getting a little low these days. Gerrard is clearly not the same player as four or five years ago and, with old Father Time watching on, he's had to adapt his game somewhat. That said, the 33-year-old still warrants a place in the side and continues, for now at least, to be a key figure. His leadership and set-piece prowess are arguably worth a place on their own and I reckon he has another couple of season left in him.

Joe Allen - still strugging to get a game at Liverpool, was he a mistake signing by Rodgers? How has he performed this season when he has featured?

Allen started really well when he first arrived but then, dogged by a serious shoulder problem that wasn't made public for a long time and subsequently needed surgery, his form dipped dramatically. This season has also been interrupted by a series of injuries and his chances of earning a place have also been compromised by the impressive consistency of Jordan Henderson. With Gerrard also starting to play deeper, Allen's opportunities have been further limited but when he does feature he rarely lets anyone down. He's a valuable squad player but perhaps the 15 million could have been better spent elsewhere.

What are your main strengths and weaknesses? And what is the key to beating Liverpool at Anfield?

Attack is unquestionably our major strength. In Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge we have the league's top two goal scorers and at times the pair are just unplayable.

They are ably supported by the rest of the team which plays at an incredibly high tempo and presses the opposition into mistakes and coughing up possession. We are also extremely potent on the counter-attack with great pace and creativity to our game.

Weakness wise, we have been pretty woeful at the back for much of the season although the situation hasn't been helped by injuries which have prevented us from naming a settled back four regularly. Set-pieces are often a primary source for opposition goals while there is also a feeling that teams can get in behind our full-backs when they are caught too far up field.

Swansea City recently sacked their manager - Michael Laudrup and much has been said about the decision. Do you agree with it or are clubs too quick to sack managers these days?

There is no doubt managers are sacked way too quickly these days but I think Laudrup was one of those 50/50 calls where you could look at his record and the vibes coming out of the club and interpret the need for a change either way.

In terms of league position the situation didn't look too bad on the face of it but dig deeper and the club were actually only a handful of points above the dropzone, such is the crowded nature of the bottom half.

A record of one win in ten is relegation form and there were reportedly plenty of off-field issues also which probably gave the club enough reason to make the change and argue it was for the best.

Laudrup will of course have plenty of support from fans after lifting the club's first ever major trophy but you cannot look backwards in this game or you're left behind - something we found to a degree when deciding to reappoint Dalglish.

Liverpool have struggled to pick up points against sides above them in the table, what do you think is needed to reach their level and compete for the title?

That's a bit of a phantom point in some ways. We may have lost at Arsenal, City and Chelsea but were incredibly unlucky against the latter two, both of whom still need to play at Anfield.

As Arsenal found out a couple of weeks ago we can dismantle anyone if we are on top of our game. Our closest contenders for fourth, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur, have also been put to the sword this season.

If anything, performance wise, we've struggled against lesser sides; dropping points against the likes of Hull City, Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion in recent months.

What is your prediction for the game?

Given Liverpool have dropped just four points at home all season there should only be one winner. It won't be easy though as Swansea are a very good side with some technically gifted performers. We will need to play with the same intensity and vigour we do when the top teams visit to ensure the three points are pocketed. I'll predict a 3-1 win.

Thanks to Gavin Day from Vital Liverpool for answering our questions. You can read our answers to their questions here

Date:Saturday February 22 2014
Time: 9:13PM

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